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Mounties do enough in error riddled game

May 2013

Belmore Sports Ground, Belmore,

New South Wales

by Jodie Newell

The Mounties continued their winning form on Saturday after they defeated the Canterbury - Bankstown Bulldogs 26-22 in an error riddled match at Belmore Sports Ground. Mounties were dominant throughout the match and had the Doggies clutched the points it would been considered all out theft.

“I was frustrated in how we struggled with 50 % completion in the second half, it was our defence that got us through”

- Mounties coach Steve Antonelli

The boys from Mt Pritchard could have easily lost the game, had it not been for the wiser heads of Michael Bani and co, who were able to stave off a fast finishing Bulldogs side. For Canterbury-Bankstown, it was a welcome return to some kind of form reminiscent of last year and coach Barry Ward will find plenty of positives from this game.

The Mounties began the game well moving deep into Bulldog territory on the back of penalties and a 40-20 kick but were unable to score against a determined Dogs defence. Handling errors also interrupted the Mounties flow as they missed opportunities to score. Oddly enough the Bulldogs caught the same error riddled attack, moving well down the field on the back of penalties, being unable to score due to handling errors. Canterbury Bankstown quickly steadied, when thanks to a Jack Littlejohn chip kick that hit the bottom of the goalposts, Paul Carter cleaned up and scored the games first try under the posts. Littlejohn, a former Newtown Jets player and recently signed by the Dogs, made the easy extras Dogs up 6-0.

The Mounties seemed to be stung into action by the Bulldogs try. They applied attacking pressure via a superb last tackle kick by Sam Williams which forced the Dogs to concede a goal-line drop out. Incredibly Mounties made more mistakes and Canterbury-Bankstown dodged another bullet. It would be a short respite, when Mounties scored their first try of the game with Mark Nicholls getting over the line. Sam Williams made the extra two. Dogs 6, Mounties 6.

Mounties were quickly on the board again, thanks to excellent field position from a metre eating run by Haydon Hodge. Matt Allwood was able to gather the ball on the fifth kick, by wrenching the ball out of a Bulldogs defender and slammed the ball into the turf. Again Williams converted and it was 12-6 Mounties.

In an early contender for try of the season, Mounties Sam Williams fifth tackle kick was brilliantly chased down by Haydon Hodge who amazingly was able to plant the ball down on the far left side of the ground heading to the railway end, for an incredible try. There would have been a cigarette paper’s width before the ball went out. The adage of never give up on the chase was superbly illustrated by Hodge’s amazing try. Sam Williams didn't let his team mates work down, making a tough angled conversion, 18-6

Shane Shackleton was brought onto the field and he immediately had an impact on the Dogs defenders, making good yards with solid running at the lines. Meanwhile key Bulldog play maker Joel Romelo was working hard in trying to make something happen.

Good defending by the Mounties, kept the Bulldogs out. In particular Matt Allwood made a try saving tackle,with Michael Bani gathering on the last kick to make good yards away from Canterbury Bankstown territory. The half time break came, with Mounties in control 18-6.

The Bulldogs began the second half well, but as in the first half, bad handling errors close in goal, cost them dearly and were unable to score. Conversely, when they had to defend, they continued making handling errors. The Mounties took full advantage, when on a fifth tackle kick, the Dogs defenders were unable to hang on to the ball. Mounties Grant Lahey said thank you very much and planted the ball down for a try. It was a bad error from Canterbury Bankstown who should have defended this play better. Fortunately for the Dogs, Mounties kicker Sam Williams didn't make the conversion, 22-6.

The Mounties amped up the pressure and were quick to score again thanks to a perfectly crafted chip kick by Shaun Berrigan. Big man Scott Jones scooped it up and he to made a deft kick which saw Michael Bani pouncing on the ball and moving closer to the posts for the following extras. Easily the second best try of the game. 26-6 Mounties.

The middle period of the second half was again mistake riddled with handling errors aplenty. Canterbury Bankstown were able to gather some composure and finally score thanks to Drury Low. Littlejohn was unable to convert, but the Dogs hopes were faintly alive, 26-10 with just under 20 minutes to play.

The Bulldogs comeback chances would suffer a serious setback, when Joel Romelo copped a heavy knock and left the field. He would take no further part in the match.

This was an ugly game with a set of more handling errors and penalties from both teams. Despite this, Canterbury Bankstown were able to score after Brett Lane chased after his own kick and planted a try. Jack Littlejohn converted and with seven minutes remaining the Dogs could sniff an unlikely chance of victory. 26-16 Mounties.

Incredibly the Bulldogs scored again, via excellent position, thanks to, you guessed it, another handling error. Josh Gill stormed over the tryline. Littlejohn made the extras and the Bulldogs were only 4 points behind 26-22 with 2 minutes and spare change to go.

The Dogs got a chance to launch one last attack against the Mounties, after a knock on in the middle of the field. However the Mounties would prevail, locking up the ball and thus clutching their third win in a row. The Bulldogs were gallant in their comeback, but fell short by 4 points.

After the match, Coach Barry Ward looked out at his team from the Bulldogs tunnel and didn't have the appearance of a beaten coach. He surely must have gained some pleasure from his sides comeback, considering the loss of Joel Romelo

Mounties coach Steve Antonelli told NMG Sports the result was exasperating due to the many errors committed by his side “I was frustrated in how we struggled with 50 % completion in the second half, it was our defence that got us through”.

Next weeks games feature the Mounties up against Windsor Wolves at Penrith Stadium, whilst the Canterbury Bankstown side have a tough assignment against the Auckland Vulcans at Belmore Sports Ground.

Joel Romelo (middle) of the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs tries to close down Haydon Hodge of the Mounties

Hodge would later score one of the best chased down tries of the current season

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup

Final score:  Mounties 26 defeated Canterbury Bankstown 22

Tries: Mounties: M Bani, H Hodge, M Allwood, M Nicholls, G Lahey

Tries: Bulldogs : D Low, P Carter, J Gill, B Lane

Conversions: Mounties: S Williams 3

Conversions: Bulldogs : J Littlejohn 3

Referee: Michael Laverty

Touch Judges :  Stephen Ellison   Jimmy Oliveira

At Belmore Sports Ground