Bulldogs rebound, grind out win over Broncos
Canterbury bounced back from their last-start thrashing to Newcastle with a solid 24-14 NRL win over Brisbane at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
The Bulldogs had begun to resemble the side that surged to last year's grand final with three successive wins before crashing 44-8 to the Knights last week.
But they returned to the winners' circle with a grinding four-tries-to-three win over the Broncos.
The Dogs led 6-4 at halftime and went on with the job in the second half with tries to forwards Sam Kasiano, Aiden Tolman and Frank Pritchard.
The Bulldogs dominated much of the game but were not able to put the Broncos away until Pritchard scooped up a dropped ball and crossed in the 76th minute to seal victory.
Lachlan Maranta scored a consolation try in the 80th minute after half of the players from each team were embroiled in a melee upfield.
Canterbury lifted a gear early in the second half and forged ahead 18-4 after 58 minutes on the back of converted tries to props Kasiano and Tolman.
Kasiano crashed over six minutes after halftime from first receiver close to the line with Sam Thaiday and Andrew McCullough on his back.
In a near carbon copy, Tolman forced his way over nine minutes later when he ran over the top of Broncos replacement hooker Jake Granville.
Jordan Kahu then hit back for the Broncos when he leapt onto a Corey Norman cross-field kick in the 67th minute.
Ben Barba scored the only first-half try for the Bulldogs when he chased through his own grubber kick after Justin Hodges knocked on in the 10th minute.
Barba also saved two first-half tries when he stopped a flying Maranta in his tracks in the seventh minute and pushed Josh Hoffman into touch before he could get the ball down in the 23rd minute.
Before a poor crowd of 11,344, Brisbane scored eight minutes before halftime when they worked a slick second-man play on their left hand side and Josh Hoffman crossed out wide.
Pritchard was placed on report for a high tackle on Broncos playmaker Peter Wallace in the 69th minute.
Canterbury coach Des Hasler was happy with the way his side bounced back from last week.
"We turned it around this week and I'm very proud of the way we did that," Hasler said.
"To compete in this competition you have to hang onto the ball. We didn't manage that in the dry last week but managed it in the wet tonight so go figure.
"It was a good effort against a Brisbane side that kept trying all night."
Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin said his side's goal line defence cost them any chance of a win.
"It was a tough game of football, we just loosened our defence a few times and that was it," he said.
"At halftime we were right in the game and banging away. Those two (tries to Kasiano and Tolman) on our goal line were too easy and that was the ball game.
"We scrambled well all night but were not good enough on our own goal line. I thought our effort was good enough to win if we had been a bit neater."
Canterbury Bulldogs 24 (B Barba S Kasiano F Pritchard A Tolman tries T Hodkinson 4 goals) Brisbane Broncos 14 (J Hoffman J Kahu L Maranta tries C Parker goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Jared Maxwell, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 11,344