In a thrilling Round 3 clash at Belmore on Sunday, the Bulldogs held on to a 26-22 victory after surviving a late surge from a desperate Wests Tigers side. Despite leading by 20 points after 66 minutes, Cameron Ciraldo’s side had to weather the storm as the Tigers ran in three tries in four minutes to set up a thrilling finale.
The Bulldogs were fortunate that their early tries from a lethal left edge were enough to hold on to the two points, with Matt Burton laying the platform and Paul Alamoti and Josh Addo-Carr producing the magic. After a disciplined start, the Bulldogs opened their account in the fourth minute when forward Viliame Kikau broke through the line and offloaded to put Hayze Perham through from close range.
Nine minutes later, the home side was in again when 19-year-old Paul Alamoti intercepted an Adam Doueihi pass and raced downfield before finding Josh Addo-Carr, who scored his third try for the season. Kyle Flanagan’s conversion made it 12-0.
The Bulldogs hit back in the 28th minute when Alamoti defused a high ball and burst down the paddock before linking up with Addo-Carr, who handily beat Wests Tigers’ defenders to score a double. Moments before the half-time bell, the Bulldogs were gifted another two points after Wests Tigers skipper Api Koroisau was penalised for being offside and then again for verbal dissent. Flanagan kicked the penalty goal to take a 20-6 lead to the sheds at half-time.
In the second half, pressure continued to mount against the Tigers after some early errors, and the Bulldogs extended their lead through Burton, who danced his way through lacklustre defence to run 40m and score under the posts. Flanagan’s conversion stretched the lead 26-6.
With 13 minutes to play, the Wests Tigers came to life with three spectacular runaway tries in four minutes through halfback Luke Brooks, forward Fonua Pole, and fullback Charlie Staines. Staines’ first try in Wests Tigers colours reduced the deficit to just four points with ten minutes to play. While the visitors tried everything to claim their first win for the season, the home side hung on to bring the Belmore Faithful to their feet at full time.