Bulldogs Toyota Cup Finals Bound on a WinThe Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs head into the Toyota Cup finals on a winning note after a come from behind 38-28 victory over the Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs enjoyed a fast start, scoring twice inside 15 minutes to lead by 12 points to nil, only to trail 22-12 by half time after conceding four straight tries.
A five tries to one second half – including two inside the final three minutes of play to seal the win – saw the Bulldogs finish over the top of their opponents to record the 14th win of 2011.
The win means the Bulldogs finish the regular season in sixth position on the ladder, facing a clash against either Melbourne or Cronulla dependent on results later on Sunday.
The Bulldogs got things on a roll early, with Jaline Graham claiming a rather lucky four pointer after twisting his way over the line in the fifth minute.
While replays later showed he’d lost control of the ball in the process of scoring, the points counted with Graham also adding the extras to put the home side out to a 6-nil lead.
Mitchell McMahon went over nine minutes later and it all was looking a bit too easy for the Dogs, however they soon fell into a hole with handling errors giving Canberra the ideal opportunity to work their way into proceedings.
Ryan Gowing found the line for the first time on 19 minutes, with Ben Picker converting, then Picker went over and converted to level things up soon after.
A double before half time to Paul Vaughn sent the Raiders into the break ahead by 10 at 22-12.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring after the break through a second to Graham, which when converted by the number six narrowed the gap to eight points.
The Raiders hit back on the hour through Uiti Baker, with Picker’s conversion making it comfortable at 28-16.
With 11 minutes to play and a 12 point deficit to peg back the Bulldogs were given hope through a try to Leilani Latu, which when followed two minutes later by a converted try to TJ Taotua suddenly levelled things up at 28-all.
Coming hard the Bulldogs found the deadlock breaker three minutes from time, when captain Dale Finucane backed his was over close to the posts with three defenders hanging off hhim.
From there it was all academic, with Daniel Abou-Sleiman completing the picture with a try on full time to secure a 38-28 victory.
Bulldogs 38: Jaline Graham 2, Mitchell McMahon, Leilani Latu, TJ Taotua, Dale Finucane, Daniel Abou-Sleiman tries; Jaline Graham 4 goals from 5 attempts, Jake Fitzpatrick 1 goal from 1 attempt, TJ Taotua 0 goals from 1 attempt.
Raiders 28: Paul Vaughan 2, Ryan Gowing, Ben Picker, Uiti Baker tries; Ben Picker 4 goals from 5 attempts.
At ANZ Stadium Source: bulldogs.com.au