THE Bulldogs fought hard to notch a maiden win in 2017 accounting for a disappointing Warriors side 24-12 at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Here’s what RLW learned:
1. The Bulldogs know how to win the scrappy games.
They never looked totally in control but the Belmore boys love a scrap and they came up with the effort plays at the right times to clinch their first win of the season. The Bulldogs line was peppered by wave after wave of attack from the Warriors but led by Josh Jackson continued to front up with a stoic defensive performance. Brett Morris bagged an impressive double and Canterbury halfback Moses Mbye had his best game in a long while and steered the Dogs of war to a gutsy win.
2. The Warriors spine troubles continue.
They may have been missing their fullback, best player and captain in Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but the fact remains the Warriors spine is struggling for form and influence on games. Young five/eighth Ata Hingano tried hard but the more experienced Issac Kuke and Shaun Johnson go missing when their team need them the most. Tuimoala Lolohea continues to be a victim of playing in too many positions and will be better served in sticking with one position for an extended period.
3. Marcelo Montoya looks a promising prospect.
The young debutant looked solid on the flank for the Dogs defusing a towering bomb early in the contest to announce himself as a first grader. Montoya was defensively sound and showed all the skills in attack in an encouraging first outing in the top grade. The highlight came in the 65th minute when the local junior went over for his first try to get the Dogs back in front.
4. Vatuvei’s bad luck with injury continues.
The flying Warriors winger was making his comeback from a long lay off tonight and he reinjured his toublesome knee. The Warriors record try scorer trudged off in the 54th minute with a strained knee which could mean another stint on the sidelines.
5. James Graham should never kick again.
The Bulldogs skipper found himself with the ball on last tackle in the 25th minute and he channeled his inner playmaker in putting boot to ball. Unfortunately for the English front-rower his effort went off the side of his boot and 10 metres backwards to land on an unsuspecting Josh Jackson’s head. It was a light hearted moment but you can bet his coach Des Hasler didn’t see the funny side of it.
Bulldogs 24 (B. Morris 2, Mbye, Montoya tries: Mbye 4 goals) beat Warriors 12 (Thompson, Johnson tries; Johnson 2 goals)