Dogs bark as Storm stay atop NRL table - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs bark as Storm stay atop NRL table

By Philip Henderson and Todd Balym 12/08/2007 07:17:41 PM Comments (0)

Bulldogs enforcer Mark O'Meley believes his club's tough run home to the finals will have them ripe for a charge at the NRL premiership.

While Melbourne continued their unrelenting run to back-to-back minor premierships with a gritty 14-6 victory over Brisbane at Olympic Park on Sunday, the Bulldogs flexed their premiership muscles in a big way with a 52-4 hammering of Canberra at Telstra Stadium.

Kiwi international Sonny Bill Williams was simply awesome for the Dogs, scoring three tries while dishing up some massive hits in defence.

Currently fifth, the Dogs will be gunning for a top four berth but do have one of the hardest runs home in the final three rounds - Brisbane away, Storm at home and North Queensland away.

O'Meley, though, believes the formidable schedule will have the Dogs primed for a title tilt.

"I think people look and say you have a hard run in, but with the finals, that's the sort of run you want in," said O'Meley after his first game back from a month-long hamstring-injury layoff.

"You get the feeling in the tough hit outs that you need to come up against coming into the finals.

"It's probably our style, the tougher teams we play better.

"When you come up against sort of weaker opponents we play scrappier and more flamboyant, but today we played good, solid football."

Melbourne's win against Brisbane in the 2006 grand final re-match was far less impressive, but did keep the Storm two points clear of Manly after the Sea Eagles' 50-16 hammering of Newcastle on Friday night.

The reigning premier Broncos, meanwhile, dropped to seventh with the loss, now just one defeat away from dropping out of the eight.

The gap between the top two sides and third-placed Parramatta is now a massive 10 points after Cronulla ended a seven-game losing streak with a 25-24 golden-point upset of the Eels on Saturday night.

The New Zealand Warriors jumped to fourth with their 30-6 win over the Gold Coast on Saturday night, but the weekend's biggest movers were South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters.

The Rabbitohs landed a significant blow for their top eight hopes with a 24-14 win over St George Illawarra, their first win in Wollongong since 1989 - the last time they made the finals.

It lifted them to ninth on the ladder, behind Brisbane and the eighth-placed Wests Tigers on for and against.

One point behind in 10th is the resurgent Roosters, who continued their unbeaten run under coach Brad Fittler with a thrilling 26-22 golden-point victory over the Tigers on Friday.

Gold Coast, two points out of the eight in 11th, appear the only other side still in finals contention, with St George Illawarra, Newcastle and Canberra likely now out of the race.

Penrith host North Queensland in the final match of round 22 at CUA Stadium on Monday, with the Cowboys aiming to jump back in the top four against the competition cellar dwellers.

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