Canterbury Bulldogs were 9-8 down at the interval, but they pulled away in the second half to secure a convincing 24-9 win over South Sydney Rabbitohs to open the NRL’s Easter programme at ANZ Stadium in front of 35,984 spectators.
Stand-off Josh Reynolds was the star of the show for the Bulldogs, as he consistently exposed weakness in the Rabbitohs’ defence, particularly on the left side, while halfback Matt Frawley continued his impressive development this season when he joined the fray after 25 minutes.
An early exchange of penalty goals saw the sides level, but the first try came on the half-hour when Souths fullback Alex Johnston outpaced both Josh Reynolds and Brett Morris.
Reynolds responded by chasing his own grubber to touch down, beating Johnston to the ball. Kerrod Holland missed the conversion but added a penalty just before half time before Adam Reynolds kicked a field goal with the last play of the first half.
Souths blundered three chances early in the second half before the Bulldogs took control of the game.
Josh Jackson touched down in the 63rd minute before James Graham sent Brett Morris through a gap and the supporting Moses Mbye gave a long pass to Holland to score in the corner.
Canterbury’s final try came when Montoya brilliantly took a spiralling bomb and offloaded to Tolman, whose pass to Josh Morris saw him touch down inside the corner post for a 24-9 win.
Bulldogs: 1 Brett Morris, 2 Kerrod Holland, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Brenko Lee, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Josh Reynolds, 7 Moses Mbye, 8 Aiden Tolman, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 James Graham (c), 11 Josh Jackson, 12 Adam Elliott, 13 Greg Eastwood; Interchange: 14 Sam Kasiano, 15 Danny Fualalo, 17 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 20 Matt Frawley.
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Braidon Burns, 3 Siosifa Talakai, 4 Robert Jennings, 5 Bryson Goodwin, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Kyle Turner, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess (c); Interchange: 14 Robbie Farah, 15 Jason Clark, 16 Zane Musgrove, 17 George Burgess.
A full roundup off all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s issue of League Express