Canterbury v Newcastle

Clutch play from Romelo does it for the Doggies

May 27  2012

by Jodie Newell

In what could only be described as a game of two halves, the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs survived an incredible comeback from Newcastle with thanks to a heads up play from Joel Romelo.


With seconds remaining on the clock Romelo slotted a well taken field goal in a pulsating encounter played at the Doggies hallowed home ground at Belmore.

It was Canterbury who immediately jumped out of the blocks and posted a succession of tries and completely outplayed a Newcastle outfit that looked like it had missed the bus up North and hadn't turned up.

Ironically it was Joel Romelo who opened the scoring with an excellent try, whilst teammates Brett Lane and Tim Browne chipped in with more points.  Dogs skipper Trent Cutler certainly led by example with a superb “don't argue” fend and with the blinking of an eye Canterbury were ahead 20 - 0. Romelo chimed with another try and successful conversion from Trent Cutler and all of a sudden the Knights afternoon looked all but over at 26-0.

To Newcastle’s credit they began to work harder and their efforts were rewarded when Marvin Filipo scored on an excellent fifth tackle chase. Josh Mantellato converted and finally Newcastle were on the board. The Knights seemed to lift and it wasn't long before Sam Anderson broke through the Bulldogs defence. Josh Mantellato again nailed the extras and at half time the Newcastle Knights were back in the game 26-10.

The second half began just as it had ended when Newcastle opened up the scoring with a try from full back Peter Mata’utia. Josh Mantellato had his kicking boots on and converted. Knights 16 Dogs 26.

The Bulldogs immediately responded to the Knights challenge and with slick passing, Josh Portlock scored another four points giving the Dogs a handy fourteen point buffer.

Incredibly Newcastle refused to give in. Evarn Tuimavave found himself over the try line with Mantellato getting the extra two points, cutting the deficit to eight.

With daylight fading, the Belmore Sports Ground lights were turned on and the drama increased.

Knights five-eighth Albert Kelly snaffled a mid field intercept and sprinted for a try. One had to think twice in what you were actually witnessing was believable, Newcastle had levelled the scores at 30 points all.

Canterbury refused to give in against a Knights team that were charging. Martin Taupau pushed his team ahead with a much needed try. Trent Cutler booted truly and the Dogs surely were home. 36-30 with minutes remaining.

Like the pattern of the day, the Knights defied the script, Kevin Naiqama scored, Josh Mantellato converted and the game was again tied up 36-36.

Both sides had chances to score a drop goal, but all attempts were classic “shanks”. It was looking like both sides would finish even at full time.

The Dogs benefited from an extra set of six in the final minutes which helped their field position for a drop goal attempt. In stepped Joel Romelo in front of the goal-posts and slotted home the winning point.

The Belmore faithful cheered loudly as their team nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Newcastle were gallant, never giving up. They could only blame themselves for losing in playing catch up football.

Canterbury coach Barry Ward thought his team responded well to the Newcastle comeback  “We toughed it out and we got the win, we were two players down on the bench, we kept our lines It was a good tough effort”.

Final score:  Canterbury Bulldogs 37 defeated Newcastle Knights 36

Bulldogs Tries : J Romelo 2, J Sila, B Lane, J Portlock, T Browne, M Taupau

Bulldogs Conversions: T Cutler 4

Bulldogs Drop Goals: J Romelo

Knights Tries : P Matautia, K Naiqama, A Kelly, E Tuimavave, M Filipo, S Anderson

Knights Conversions:  J Mantellato 6

+ PHOTO GALLERYDogs_v_Knights_Photos.htmlDogs_v_Knights_Photos.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0

The Peter Moore scoreboard shows just how close this game was decided