Wests Tigers have gone down to the Bulldogs 25-24 in a Golden Point thriller at ANZ Stadium for their Round 4 clash in front of a crowd of 20,121.
After Luke Brooks and James Tedesco guided Jason Taylor’s side to a 24-6 advantage mid-way through the second half, the Bulldogs stormed back with 19 unanswered points to clinch the match with a Moses Mbye field goal in the 84th minute of play.
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The match got off to a perfect start for Taylor’s side as Brooks found Kyle Lovett with a perfectly-timed face ball, with the forward reaching out to score his first NRL try. Mitch Moses had no problems with the extras and took the score to 6-0 after five minutes.
Canterbury would hit back not long after, though, with Frank Pritchard keeping the ball alive and allowing Curtis Rona to dive over in the corner for his side’s first try.
Trent Hodkinson added the extras from the sideline to level the match after 19 minutes.
Tedesco appeared to put the home side in front when he crossed after 25 minutes, but his try was disallowed, with Tim Simona ruled to have obstructed Hodkinson.
That would be the final real scoring opportunity for both sides in the half, as the two teams went into the half-time sheds at ANZ Stadium locked at 6-6.
Chris Lawrence was placed on report for a mid-air collision with Sam Perrett shortly after break, which gave the Bulldogs great attacking field position. However, that position would quickly turn sour for the Bulldogs, as a Greg Eastwood grubber was snaffled up by Brooks, who sped away and ran 70m to score next to the posts.
Moses converted and gave Wests Tigers a 12-6 lead after 46 minutes.
A sharp offload from Curtis Sironen in the following set would again break the Bulldogs open. Brooks was on hand to collect the pass, running 40m down field, before grubbering past Perrett for Tedesco to fly through and score his first try.
The flying fullback would be in again seven minutes later — this time bursting through the middle of the field to collect a grubber from Brooks against the grain.
Moses’ sharp kicking gave Wests Tigers a 24-6 lead 57 minutes.
Despite seemingly being down and out of the contest, the Bulldogs continued to rally back, with Michael Lichaa crossing in the 59th minute to reduce the score to 24-12.
After Martin Taupau went close to putting the hosts further in front, it was the Bulldogs who were in again as they began to dominate possession and territory. Sam Kasiano turned provider as he threw a superb cut-out ball, allowing Rona to fly past Kevin Naiqama on the right wing for his second try of the night after 67 minutes.
Hodkinson’s sideline conversion reduced the margin even further to 24-18.
Brooks had a chance to send Wests Tigers seven points in front when he lined up for a field goal in the 75th minute — narrowly missing to the right of the posts. That gave the Bulldogs a seven-tackle set, and they would take full advantage of that, with Rona going through the line before offloading for Josh Morris to score his first try of the night.
Hodkinson added the extras to lock the scores at 24-all with three minutes to play.
As the match entered golden point, Wests Tigers had penalty appeals on Farah in the ruck and Moses — who was collected late after he kicked the ball — turned down, with Mbye stepping up to steal the victory for the Bulldogs, with a 30m field goal that gave the visitors a 25-24 win and capped off a spectacular comeback for the 2014 Grand Finalists.
Wests Tigers will look to bounce back from consecutive defeats when they play their third match in a row at ANZ Stadium on Easter Monday against the Parramatta Eels.
Canterbury Bulldogs 25 (Rona 2, Lichaa, Morris tries; Hodkinson 4/4 goals, Mbye field goal) def. Wests Tigers 24 (Tedesco 2, Lovett, Brooks tries; Moses 4/4 goals).