Morris scores hat-trick as Dogs run riot
Brett Morris has made a stunning return from a long-term knee injury to score three tries in his team's 40-14 thrashing of Brisbane at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Canterbury's big men simply monstered the Brisbane pack, winning a clear points battle in the middle of the field.
Their efforts were capped by tries to three of the biggest men in the NRL with Sam Kasiano (who scored a double), David Klemmer and Tony Williams all getting their names on the score sheet to go with Morris's hat-trick.
Brisbane had five players backing up from Wednesday night's Origin and also lost debutant centre Tom Opacic to a foot injury after just 23 minutes, and they looked a bit out of sorts right throughout the contest.
Canterbury's kicking game was close to the best it has been all year, forcing a few repeat sets but still with too many 'hit and hope' downfield kicks failing to pressure the opposition.
Starting props Aiden Tolman and James Graham each ran over 200 metres while Josh Jackson made over 150 and Klemmer, Williams and Kasiano all crossed the 100-metre mark.
For Brisbane, McGuire and Parker barely made more than 100 metres and were the only two Broncos forwards to do so while the visitors missed a whopping 53 missed tackles to Canterbury's 20 with Matt Gillett (nine) and Ben Hunt (seven) the worst offenders. The home side ran for almost 600 more metres in total (1,834 as opposed to Brisbane's 1,277).
There was a tense feeling out period to start the game with 23 scoreless minutes as both teams probed without finding a killer blow from their few attacking chances. The deadlock was finally broken by the visitors when Maroons winger Corey Oates burst over out wide having profited from a nice cut-out pass but the passage of play leading up to it ended the night of Opacic due to a foot ligament injury.
It took only six more minutes for the second try and it came via resurgent bench forward Tony Williams, who seems to have remembered how big and strong he is after a recent stint in reserve grade. He smashed his way over the line off a nice Moses Mbye pass to put his side up 6-4.
Brisbane's attempted penalty goal level-up in the 35th minute was not assisted by the absences of the injured Jordan Kahu and lock Corey Parker, who was on the interchange bench at the time, and Anthony Milford sprayed the shot wide.
A two-point margin would have been a fair reflection of the closeness of the opening half but with two minutes until the siren hulking bench prop Sam Kasiano scored one of the funnier tries seen in recent times. With Morris tackled just short of the line in the corner, Kasiano attempted to push his way over from dummy-half; the four alert defenders pushed him back but he remained on his feet as they sprawled in front of him and he leapt over the top of all of them to ground the ball and earn a 10-4 half-time lead.
Brisbane needed to build some early pressure and were able to force a goal line drop-out shortly after the restart but a poor Adam Blair offload intercepted by Williams proved critical as the Bulldogs marched downfield. When Michael Lichaa turned it inside for Mbye to split the defence and gallop away the returning Morris loomed up in support to nab his first NRL try since the 2015 finals series.
The game was quickly slipping away from a tired-looking Broncos outfit and when big Dave Klemmer spun out of the tackles of Darius Boyd and Blair next to Brisbane's posts he looked up to see no one in front of him and strolled over under the sticks.
It got even uglier just inside the 60-minute mark when a series of offloads scattered Brisbane and a short-side play allowed a leaping Curtis Rona to offload back to a screaming Morris to run onto the pass for his second of the night.
Kerrod Holland's sideline conversion made it 28-4 and as good as over with five tries in 20 minutes now the unlikely task for the visitors.
With the Dogs again pressing the line a fortuitous 90-metre intercept try to James Roberts at least stopped the rot for Brisbane. A right side move shortly after had winger Greg Eden in space but his foot scraped the touch-line before he passed infield to potentially set up more points.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 40 (Morris 3, Kasiano 2, Williams, Klemmer tries; Holland 6 goals) defeated Brisbane Broncos 14 (Oates, Roberts, Milford tries; Parker 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: Bulldogs 10-4. Crowd: 15,106.