The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have solidified their position in the Toyota Cup top eight after holding on to defeat the Sydney Roosters 24 points to 20 at Allianz Stadium on Monday night.
The Bulldogs raced out to lead by 12 early, before the Roosters hit back to lead by four into the break.
However a more composed and controlled brand of football after half time allowed the Bulldogs to work their way back into the match, retaking the lead on the hour before withstanding a late Rooster charge to take victory.
Pressure built and told early with the Dogs opening the scoring after six minutes, quick hands putting Sam Ahofono over in the corner for Freddie Robinson to convert for a 6-nil lead.
Michael Iaopo barged over for his side’s second soon after, gifting the Dogs a 12-nil lead in less than even time, before the Roosters got a gift from on high with winger Paul Rokolati scoring off a bomb with a quarter of the match gone.
Two tries in close to as many minutes gave the Roosters momentum they’d maintain into the half time break, by which time they had stolen a 16-12 lead.
A stepping four pointer from half and captain Ryley Jacks in the 21st minute got the home side back to within two points, before halves partner Dean Blackman crossed six minutes later to put the Roosters in front.
The Dogs pressed without success over the opening stages of the second half, playing the game almost exclusively down the Roosters end.
The breakthrough finally came after 58 minutes – and a false start with Ahofono denied a pair of tries for double movement – when David Minute barged over to give Robinson the opportunity to put the Bulldogs back in front.
The two point buffer established by the conversion was swiftly extended to eight as Iaopo crashed over for his second try of the night, and at 24-16 the Bulldogs looked home.
The Roosters came again however and once again it was through the solo efforts of Rokolati, who slipped three would be tackles to touch down out wide.
But the winger missed the opportunity to reduce the gap even further, pushing his kick wide in what would ultimately prove to be the final scoring opportunity of the match.
Bulldogs 24: Michael Iaopo 2, Sam Ahofono, David Minute tries; Freddie Robinson 4 goals from 4 attempts
Roosters 20: Paul Rokolati 2, Ryley Jacks, Dean Blackman tries; Paul Rokolati 2 goals from 4 attempts
At Allianz Stadium