Bulldogs' big men inspire Canterbury to victory over Dolphins

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Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Redcliffe Dolphins

The Canterbury Bulldogs have claimed the State Championship after cruising to a comfortable 24-point victory over the Redcliffe Dolphins at ANZ Stadium.

The commanding win was set up by Canterbury's rampaging forward pack, with the Bulldogs' big men scoring three of their seven tries.

Rhyse Martin was a revelation for the Bulldogs first grade side in 2018 and made his mark early in Sunday afternoon's match when he crashed over in the 5th minute off a Nu Brown short ball.

While Canterbury built last week's grand final victory over the Jets off their defence, they were putting themselves under plenty of pressure in the first half as errors gifted Redcliffe strong field position.

And the Dolphins eventually capitalised in the 30th minute when Kotoni Staggs steamed onto a flat pass from Bryce Donovan. 

Redcliffe were slowly building momentum but found themselves down by 10 points at the break after a pair of tries to Canterbury five-eighth Josh Cleeland.

The first saw Zac Woolford dart out of dummy-half and find Lachlan Burr, who linked with Cleeland in support. 

The 27-year old's second of the afternoon came off a Renouf To'omaga offload as Cleeland outpaced Trai Fuller all the way to the try line. 

The first half wasn't without casualties though, with Canterbury winger Josh Bergamin and Redcliffe edge forward Toby Rudolf leaving the field with suspected jaw and knee injuries respectively. Dolphins hooker Jake Turpin would also fail to return after suffering a calf strain. 

The Dolphins lacked energy early in the second half and Canterbury took advantage, with their forwards surging upfield and picking up easy metres through the middle.

They quickly extended their lead to 16 in the 47th minute when Chris Smith barged over for a soft try.

Renouf To'omaga was the next to score, spinning over under the posts off a crash ball from interchange hooker Bronson Garlick.

Canterbury invited Redcliffe back into the contest in the 60th minute when a loose pass was scooped up by Staggs who raced away for a double.

The Bulldogs struggled to close out the victory as errors saw the Dolphins presented with plenty of opportunities to further reduce the deficit.

Yet they failed to convert and Steve Georgallis' men eventually sealed the win when Jayden Okunbor sliced over out wide after a Nu Brown line break. 

The two sides traded tries in the final few minutes with Redcliffe hitting back in the 74th minute after James Taylor barged over several defenders all the way to the try line. 

Brown bagged a try of his own in the 76th minute when he cheekily called for an offload from Dolphins backrower Jamil Hopoate. The 23-year old did just that inside his own in-goal area and Brown just had to plant the ball, securing the dominant 42-18 win. 

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 42 - Redcliffe Dolphins 18

Venue: ANZ Stadium
Crowd: 0
Halftime Score: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 16 Redcliffe Dolphins 6

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Lachlan Burr
2 points - Renouf To'omaga
1 points - Josh Cleeland

Tries: Rhyse Martin, Josh Cleeland (2), Chris Smith, Renouf To'omaga, Jayden Okunbor, Nu Brown
Field Goals:
Conversions: Rhyse Martin (4/5), Josh Cleeland (1/1), Greg Eastwood (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Rhyse Martin (1/1)

Tries: Kotoni Staggs (2), James Taylor
Field Goals:
Conversions: Kotoni Staggs (1/1), Bryce Donovan (2/2)
Penalty Goals:

See how it happened in our Match Centre