While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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Canterbury-Bankstown recorded their first victory of the 2017 NRL season, downing a listless Warriors outfit 24-12 in Dunedin's maiden competition fixture at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
In a largely scrappy affair, the Bulldogs' defence was the star of the show, holding out countless Warriors attacking sets on their own line while conceding only two tries - one in each half - before rolling home in the final 20 minutes.
The match started with a glut of possession and field position for the designated away side, the men from New Zealand eventually cracking the Bulldogs after 17 minutes when Tui Lolohea pointed a grubber at the goalposts, forcing Josh Reynolds to attempt kicking it dead. The kick lacked any gumption, and a steaming Bodene Thompson grounded it before anyone else could.
Trailing 6-0 the Bulldogs finally found themselves with some territory and possession, and it was much-maligned halfback Moses Mbye who took on the line and got the home side's breakthrough around the half-hour mark. The try seemed to put a rocket under the 'Dogs, who took the lead through Brett Morris just before the halftime after a simple left side play left the Warriors short of edge defenders. A missed conversion attempt from Mbye meant Canterbury took a 10-6 lead to the sheds at halftime.
The Warriors resumed with a similar dominance to the early part of the first half, and it again took nearly 20 minutes for either side to crack the scoreboard after the break. Shaun Johnson snuck in down the right side after earlier tryscorer Bodene Thompson helped him create some space. It would be the last time the Warriors bothered the scorers, having failed to penetrate the Bulldogs defence for the 20 minutes prior despite dominating possession and field position.
Canterbury then dug deep for the remaining 15 minutes of the clash, debutant winger Marcelo Montoya grabbing a try before Brett Morris bagged his second to round out a sorry night for the Warriors, compounded by the loss of Manu Vatuvei to a knee injury.
Next week the Bulldogs will fancy their chances at 'Fortress Lottoland' when they visit an out-of-form Manly on Saturday afternoon, while the Warriors are on a plane to Sydney themselves, facing the Dragons at Kogarah on Sunday night.