Bulldogs bounce back after double blows - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs bounce back after double blows

Steve Jancetic 16/04/2011 01:20:45 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury players and coaching staff knew they weren't going as bad as back-to-back NRL losses suggested - and on Friday night they made believers of the critics as well.

The Bulldogs recovered from a sluggish start to run over the top of Parramatta 34-14, their cause no doubt helped by the astonishing double sin-binnings midway through the first half that triggered a stunning turnaround.

But it was the way the Bulldogs reacted to the incidents that pleased coach Kevin Moore, and reassured the players that losses to Melbourne and St George Illawarra over the past fortnight were - as he described them - a learning experience after three straight wins to open the season.

"We talked about that ... everyone knows the Dragons and the Storm are the two best teams in the competition and we didn't go too bad against them," said fullback Ben Barba, who was the star of the show against the Eels with a brilliant hattrick.

"Tonight we had to come out and prove to everyone that the last two games were learning experiences and we could come here tonight and put on a good show."

And put on a show they did, with Barba's second try when he dived headlong for the corner to score less than a minute out from halftime, a highlight.

It was the flash of brilliance Barba has regularly shown throughout his stop-start NRL career to date, but it was the solid rather than the spectacular that really caught Moore's eye.

"(It was a) bit of a coming of age for Ben tonight," Moore said.

"He's been really good for us over the first five weeks of the competition.

"If he can just be consistently good and give us the flashes of brilliance that he gave us tonight, he's going to be some player for us down the track."

It wasn't surprising to see Barba come to the fore when both sides were reduced to 11 players each late in the first half, with his double before the break bringing the Bulldogs back into the contest.

The 21-year-old admitted he madea conscious effort to inject himself into the contest as the gaps on the field opened up, his blinding speed and light footwork a deadly combination against a retreating Eels defence.

"I thought this is my chance to use my speed and agility to get around a few blokes - I'm lucky enough that it paid off," Barba said.

"They (the trainers) told me to play a bit more of a five-eighth role because Kris (Keating) had to go to dummy half when Mick (Ennis) had to go off, they said just to get my hands on the ball and make something of it."

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