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Dogs stop Cutters, still smarting from September

March 2013

Balmain, New South Wales

by Jodie Newell


Make no bones about it, the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs of the New South Wales Cup variety are still smarting after their easy exit from last years finals series.


Dogs coach Barry Ward emphasised that point after his teams 10 point victory over the Illawarra Cutters

“We were thrown out of it (finals) pretty easily last year by Newtown. It still hurts a lot of blokes. This season is about trying to be ready every week, because you don't know whats going to happen. The thing is when you play bad in big games, it hurts. It’s all about preparation during the week and getting it right on game-day”


Surely one of those players still smarting would be chief playmaker Joel Romelo, who made life difficult for the Illawarra defence on a hot autumn day at Leichhardt Oval. Romelo’s crisp use of the ball and gamesmanship helped his side to victory.

The first Bulldog try was a case in point. On the back of penalty, Romelo helped set up team mate in Tim Lafai out wide for a try.


The Cutters could claim similar grievances about their exit from the 2012 finals series and also at the hands of the “destiny” team in Newtown. Like Romelo, Junior Vai Vai shone in the offence. He posted the teams first try after a lovely chip kick from John Kennedy.


The Dogs responded to the Cutters challenge with Shane Pumipi finding himself under posts, cashing in on excellent field position via a penalty and tackle reset. Trent Hodkinson made light work of the extras and the Dogs regained the lead 10-6.

After several set completions from both teams, with no points added, the half time siren rang and players headed into the sheds for some well needed respite from the hot sun.


The Dogs would continue their scoring after the break with a double from Lachan Burr. Hodkinson converted both tries and Canterbury-Bankstown scooted out to a 22-6 lead.


Junior Vai Vai was clearly Illawarra’s best player as he was able to craft an excellent try and keep his side in the game. The Cutters again found themselves with another try, thanks to an excellent run from full-back Michael Lett who passed to Adam Quinlan for the 4 points. The busy Vai Vai was true with the conversion, and it was game on 22-16.


In a rough arm-wrestle to the line, the Bulldogs were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Trent Hodkinson chose to go for the 2 points, which would make it a two try lead with minutes left. His kick was true and basically the game was over. Hodkinson was awarded another penalty in the final seconds and again chose to kick taking the final score to 26-16.


It was an excellent return to form for the Bulldogs after a disappointing effort last week against the North Sydney Bears. For Illawarra, they weren't disgraced, fighting back in the trying heat. One wonders if they used up a few petrol tickets in a prolonged warm-up session in the heat prior to the game. In contrast, the Bulldogs session was considerably shorter.


Joel Romelo told NMG Sports after the game it was a pleasing effort from his team “It was good to get our first win on the board, we didn't play that well last week and it’s good to see the boys improving”.


In next weeks round 3 action of the VB NSW Cup, the Illawarra Cutters enjoy a bye, while Canterbury Bankstown return home to Belmore to face the Wentworthville Magpies


The Bulldogs offence kept the Cutters defenders busy

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup

Final score:  Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 26 defeated Illawarra Cutters 16


Tries Dogs: L Burr 2, S Pumipi, T Lafai

Tries Cutters: J Vaivai 2, A Quinlan

Conversions Bulldogs:  T Hodkinson 3

Conversions Cutters: A Quinlan, J Vaivai

Penalties Bulldogs: T Hodkinson 2

Penalties Cutters: -

Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski

Touch Judges :  Scott Shepard   Matt Damaso

At Leichhardt Oval