Bulldogs pump Tigers, move into fifth
Wests Tigers' chances of making the finals have officially been dashed after spiralling to yet another dispiriting defeat, this time 30-10 to a disciplined Bulldogs side at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.
On a wet and miserable night in Sydney, the Bulldogs raced out to a 24-0 lead inside the half hour mark before falling asleep and dreaming about next week's blockbuster against South Sydney.
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WATCH: Tim Lafai's slick first try
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WATCH: Potter and Farah talk about their loss
Centre Tim Lafai bagged himself an easy first-half double, workhorse second-rower Josh Jackson drew praise from commentators all night, while Trent Hodkinson put on a goalkicking masterclass, landing a perfect five from five with the boot.
The only downside was a rib injury to fullback Sam Perrett, who came off at halftime and didn't return.
After a positive start to the season, the Tigers have now conceded an embarrassing 198 points in their past five games. They are also yet to record a win since the Robbie Farah-Gordon Tallis stoush a month ago.
The underdogs actually had the first shot of the night against the actual Dogs, when a Luke Brooks trick shot caught a shortened Bulldogs defensive line unaware.
But fill-in wingman Sitaleki Akauola was just as unprepared.
It was all downhill from there for the patched up Tigers, who let Josh Jackson waltz through on a 10th minute short ball from Hodkison that had Channel Nine commentator Wally Lewis observing, "There weren't too many players volunteering for a tackle there."
A regulation right-side shift ended in winger Corey Thompson sliding over six minutes later, before his centre partner Lafai danced his way through four minutes after that – a breathtaking two right foot steps that were matched by twin sideline conversions from Hodkinson.
Not even some in-game surgery from Tigers coach Mick Potter that moved Blake Austin to fullback and Cory Paterson in from the wing could stem the points, as Lafai again found a way through in the 29th.
But even when the Tigers were finally able to post points, they came off hurting.
Having trapped a grubber on his own tryline in the 51st, Luke Brooks showed off his youthful legs by outpacing Mitch Brown in a 90 metre dash to the line, only for the talented junior to limp off immediately with a hamstring injury.
Add Keith Galloway's pre-game withdrawal due a shoulder problem, and their casualty ward now stands at an astonishing 11 players.
Lulled by their opponents into a second half slumber that included two botched tries to Josh Morris and Jackson, Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis tried to spark his side when he grubbered through for himself in the 67th.
But the Tigers saved some face when Aaron Woods chased a Robbie Farah grubber at the death, ensuring they won the second half 10-6.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 30 (Lafai 2, Jackson, Thompson, Ennis tries; Hodkinson 5 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 10 (Brooks, Woods tries; Paterson goal) at ANZ Stadium. Crowd: 9,877.