Mick Potter’s Bulldogs revived memories of the famous Canterbury “Entertainers” team he began his playing career with in the early 1980s as they climbed off the bottom of the ladder with a 34-4 upset of Parramatta.
Star winger Josh Addo-Carr made a strong case for a NSW Origin recall with a hat-trick of tries, while five-eighth Matt Burton enhanced his chances by producing three try assists and saving one in a man-of-the match performance.
Addo-Carr came from the field six minutes before full-time to a standing ovation after suffering a minor leg injury but the reception from long suffering Canterbury fans in the 20,184 crowd wasn’t just reserved for the star winger.
The win ended a five-match losing streak that claimed the scalp of coach Trent Barrett and he was replaced by Potter, who played 80 matches for the Bulldogs between 1983 and 1988 when the Ted Glossop-coached team were nicknamed “The Entertainers”.
The Entertainers are back at Accor Stadium
It was the most points the Bulldogs have scored in a match for four years and their first win against Parramatta since 2018.
Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson said: "That's probably the best win we have had for two or three years, especially against Parramatta. There is the history and the rivalry and they are a quality side. They will be there in September so it is a great win for everyone involved in the club".
Asked about his hopes of an Origin recall, Addo-Carr told ABC radio: “I will always do the state proud if I am selected, but if not I will be supporting them all the way".
Match: Bulldogs v Eels
Round 14 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
- After laying on two spectacular tries for Josh Addo-Carr last week against Penrith with kicks, Matt Burton resorted to the same tactic early and it paid dividends with the star winger scoring his first try in just the seventh minute.
- On this occasion, Burton put a short kick behind the Eels defence for Addo-Carr to race through and catch the ball on the full 10m from the try line to score untouched.
Burton clever kick for Addo-Carr try
- Bulldogs fullback Jake Averillo gave the club's fans further hope that an upset may be brewing when he intercepted a pass from Parramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard, stepped Dylan Brown and raced 80 metres to score in the 14th minute.
- Burton then combined with halfback Kyle Flanagan, who simply caught the ball and passed in one movement to send winger Jacob Kiraz racing into the clear.
- With team-mates in support, Kiraz dummied before speeding past Eels fullback Clint Gutherson to score.
Kiraz gaps them to score a long range try
- Leading 16-0 at half-time, the Bulldogs didn't let up in the second half as the desperate Eels amped up the pressure.
- Winger Bailey Simonsson stripped the ball from Addo Carr in a one-on-one mid-air challenge for a Mitchell Moses kick but knocked the ball on before he grounded it.
- Addo-Carr made amends almost immediately when he raced onto a Burton grubber kick behind Simonsson to extend Canterbury's lead to 22-0 after 49 minutes.
Burton to the Foxx combo is on fire
- Addo-Carr completed his hat-trick in the 54th minute when he intercepted a Gutherson pass and sprinted 65 metres to the tryline.
- The Bulldogs showed how much confidence they had in their defence when Burton delayed a goal-line drop-out until after the shot clock siren had sounded to concede a penalty 10 metres from his tryline midway through the second half.
- Canterbury's defence eventually cracked in the 67th minute when Will Penisini scored but any thoughts of a late comeback were quickly snuffed out by Averillo's second try.
- On this occasion, forward Zach Dockar-Clay offloaded to Max King who founded Flanagan in the support and he quickly shovelled the ball onto Burton, who grubbered into the in-goal for Averilo to score.
Razzle dazzle Bulldogs score another
Play of the Game
With Will Penisini finally getting the Eels on the board in the 67th minute, momentum was beginning to shift away from the Bulldogs and Mitchell Moses managed to get his way across the tryline a few minutes.
However, Burton was not only setting up tries but stopping them too and he prevented Moses from grounding the ball cleanly before laying on another try at the other end for Jake Averillo to seal the win.
Burton saving tries even at the death
What they Said
"It's a good feeling. I just think they upped the ante tonight. It was refreshing. I was really happy. I'd like it to be the standard we set for ourselves and it becomes a confidence thing. It is all about starting really well and I thought we started pretty good today and although we had some discipline issues in the first half with som e penalties, I thought we showed some toughness and we showed some try line D that I hadn't seen before where they worked and they solved the problems of try line D so well today," - Bulldogs coach Mick Potter.
Bulldogs: Round 14
“I’m just disappointed. We didn’t come with any hunger, any want, any desire. Credit to the opposition, they wanted it more than us today. They were more desperate, it’s embarrassing. We were just beaten to the punch physically. Any option we took today was just a soft, cheap, short cut, cheap option and we didn’t want to take any tough options. Whether we disrespected ourselves or the opposition or we thought we could just go through the motions and get the job done. Every week is a tough week in the NRL and every week you have got to turn up because if you don’t you will get beat. It's a want and desire, which is your attitude. Once we got under pressure we thought we could pass our way out of pressure rather than run our way out of pressure." - Eels coach Brad Arthur.
Eels: Round 14
NRL Press Conference: Bulldogs v Eels - Round 14, 2022
The Bulldogs host Wests Tigers at Accor Stadium next Sunday, while the Eels are home to Sydney Roosters at CommBank Stadium on Saturday night.
Bulldogs coach Mick Potter will be hoping to have English Test prop Luke Thompson (head knock), Samoan forward Ava Seaumanufagai (calf) and centre Braidon Burns available for the clash with the Tigers.
However, interchange forward Chris Patolo will need to overcome the NRL's HIA protocols after being forced from the field with a head knock in the first half.
The sixth-placed Eels need to bounce back against the Roosters to stay clear of the Rabbitohs and a chasing pack of teams on the cusp of the top eight.