The Canterbury Bulldogs did it again. They came into the NRL Finals Series looking busted. No one gave them a chance. No one was mentioning them at all when they spoke of the Premiership favourites. They were supposed to be one and done.
What followed was an old fashioned ambush!!!
The Melbourne Storm didn’t know what hit them in the first half and the 24-0 scoreline at the break pretty much signaled the end of the contest. The Bulldogs looked sharp right from kickoff. Their defense was swarming and getting up in the Storms face, cutting down their time to do anything with the ball.
This is the first season in a long time when I just didn’t feel like the Storm had an extra gear they could go to when it mattered. You need that extra gear to play finals football. They had a good regular season, by they didn’t have anything extra to give.
You could see that in this contest against the Bulldogs. The Storm couldn’t match their intensity. The moves that worked during the regular season were stifled by the defense. from there, trick shots just didn’t come off. First the first time you looked at this Storm team and their big three and you just knew they didn’t have enough to win this game.
On the other side of the field, the Dogs looked like they had arrived at the moment they had waited for all season.
It has been a strange season for the Bulldogs. At times they looked amazing. Other times they looked terrible. They have dealt with a number of key injuries, suspensions and the loss of representative players. They’ve come into the finals and all of a sudden, they look great. It looks like it has all come together for them at the right time.
Winning a premiership is as much about timing as it is about how good your lineup is. You can have the best players in the world, it doesn’t matter if they are injured, suspended or just out of form.
Against the Storm, in enemy territory, the Bulldogs looked like a team that has times their run perfectly. Now we get to look forward to a massive clash against the Manly Sea Eagles to see who will take on the Penrith Panthers the following week.
Its been a strange season for Doggies supporters, but it might just finish on an unexpected high note if their team keeps playing like this!
Canterbury Bulldogs 28
Melbourne Storm 4