Dogs hold off fast-finishing Raiders - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs hold off fast-finishing Raiders

By Adrian Warren 09/08/2009 10:42:56 AM Comments (0)

The nervy Bulldogs survived a major scare Saturday night, withstanding a spirited Canberra revival to win their NRL match 23-20.

Trailing 15-6 at halftime and 21-10 with half an hour to go, the Raiders got within one point with nine minutes to go following a try to talented young winger Daniel Vidot.

Five-eighth Terry Campese was just off target with his conversion attempt.

The Raiders pressed for an upset win but didn't make the most of their opportunities and veteran Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri sealed the result with a last minute penalty.

The Bulldogs remain in second place four points behind St George Illawarra.

Like the Dragons against Penrith on Friday night, the Bulldogs sparkled sporadically but did enough to win.

Veteran halfback Brett Kimmorley threw the final pass for two of their four tries and scored the fourth himself after selling an outrageous series of dummies.

It was his field goal right on halftime that which ultimately proved the difference.

The dream season of Bulldogs winger Bryson Goodwin continued as he scored two first-half tries to take his tally to 18 in as many games, making him the competition's joint top tryscorer along with St George Illawarra's Brett Morris.

Kimmorley' perfectly lobbed cutout pass put Goodwin across in the left hand corner after six minutes.

Goodwin blotted his copybook seven minutes later when he knocked on trying to run the ball out of his own in goal area and gave the Raiders a scrum feed.

From the last tackle of the ensuing set, Campese toed the ball past an on rushing Michael Enns and touched down for a try.

The Raiders were level for less than five minutes after the Bulldogs capitalised on a wayward pass from Campese.

Fullback Luke Patten broke from near his own line and made another break later in the set before lock David Stagg crashed over.

Goodwin increased the lead when he touched down with his left hand after winning the chase to a stab kick from five-eighth Roberts, but winger El Masri missed with two of his three conversion attempts.

Canberra failed to convert a couple of chances late in the half and Kimmorley kicked a field goal in the final minute of the half.

The Raiders lost centre Joel Monaghan with a bruised knee.

Kimmorley's sleight of hand six minutes later and an El Masri conversion appeared to put the Bulldogs out of sight.

An unconverted Joel Thompson try within two minutes of the restart appeared to put the Bulldogs out of sight.

Just after the hour, winger Phil Graham scored his fifth try in two weeks and Campese converted and then Vidot crossed to set up a grandstand finish.

"It was probably not the prettiest win but we played really good in patches of the game," Kimmorley said.

Asked about his field goal just before the break, Kimmorley said: "I got chucked the ball and I thought it was six (tackles) to go and there was about 20 seconds to go so I thought I'd just kick it."

Coach Kevin Moore also acknowledged the Bulldogs were below their best, but said the pleasing thing was they had squeezed out yet another close win, their sixth by eight or fewer points this year.

"Defensively I thought we were sound for quite a lot of the game and I thought we created some really good opportunities and played some good football," Moore said.

"But in the end we just made too many individual errors and missed too many one-on-one tackles from blokes who don't usually do it."

Stagg, who won the Bulldogs players' player game of the award after racking up 53 tackles was adamant he was okay after collecting a second head knock in as many games.

"I copped a little knock there at the end and purely just because of the fact I got knocked out last week, they (the Bulldogs medical staff) were a bit concerned but I pulled up fine," Stagg said.

Canberra coach David Furner said his team had enough ball in the second half to win and lamented their sloppy first-half performance.

"We let in a couple of tries that were a little bit easy and what we did in the second half was actually what we trained (for)," Furner said.

"I was proud of the players. In the second half we did have some opportunities to win that game."

He said he wasn't sure Monaghan would be fit for next week and that Thompson had hyperextended an elbow.

He was particularly pleased with Thompson and fellow youngster and fullback Josh Dugan.

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