Bulldogs beat Dragons in 22-16 thriller - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs beat Dragons in 22-16 thriller

By Adrian Proszenko 14/07/2006 09:40:46 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth made a triumphant return to Oki Jubilee Oval, scoring two tries to bury St George Illawarra 22-16 in his first game against his former NRL club.

The much-anticipated clash was one of the best of the season, as the premiership heavyweights flexed their muscles in front of a ground record crowd of 18,223.

The Bulldogs may pay a heavy cost for the victory, however, with Kiwi superstar Sonny Bill Williams put on report for a 58th minute lifting tackle on Dragons winger Colin Best. The Belmore club could also be without winger Cameron Phelps for an extended period after he suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder in just the ninth minute.

Punishing defence was interspersed with moments of attacking genius, with Mark Gasnier bagging a tryscoring double - including a brilliant 55-metre solo effort which showed he is as hard to contain at pivot as in the centres.

But it was the visitors who prevailed, notching their third consecutive victory and leapfrogging the Dragons into second spot on the premiership table on for-and-against.

The Dragons opened the scoring just five minutes in with a scintillating 75-metre try which belied the wet and slippery conditions. Speedy backrower Ben Creagh crossed for his first four-pointer of the season after Matt Cooper beat opposing centre Willie Tonga down the left-hand edge.

Bulldogs prop Willie Mason was penalised for a high shot on Ben Hornby midway through the half, a marginal decision which seemed to fire up their forward pack.

From the ensuing set, the visitors muscled up in defence with four consecutive bone-jarring tackles to eventually force a turnover.

The Bulldogs were then rewarded moments later for declining an easy penalty shot, with Brent Sherwin scoring a contentious try. The Bulldogs halfback, returning from a foot injury, was given the green light by video referee Bill Harrigan despite suggestions of an obstruction by NSW prop Mark O'Meley on Dragons lock Matt Bickerstaff.

Interchange weapon Sonny Bill Williams ensured the Bulldogs went into the sheds ahead at halftime, when he bulldozed past would-be tacklers Mathew Head, Brett Morris and Cooper in the 35th minute.

Gasnier used his blinding speed and dazzling footwork two minutes into the second half to score a try that will be remembered by the capacity Kogarah crowd.

One person unlikely to have any recollection of the run is Dragons interchange forward Corey Payne, who was concussed and stretchered off after coming off second-best in a spectacular collision with O'Meley.

Holdsworth scored in the 54th minute after South Sydney-bound prop Roy Asotasi busted through the line, but the scores were deadlocked again just eight minutes later when Gasnier scored his 13th try of the season, this time off a perfectly weighted chip kick from Head.

But Holdsworth's second, off a Williams offload, 11 minutes from the buzzer snapped the Dragons' seven-game winning streak.

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