Penalty try and sin-binnings as Dogs win wild West battle

Bulldogs winger Nick Meaney was awarded a penalty try in the 69th minute when Mitchell Moses charged across and dislodged the ball with an outstretched leg.

An angry Eels skipper Clint Gutherson pleaded with referee Grant Atkins: “It’s rugby league, what’s he meant to do with his legs?”

Gutherson, however, was lucky not to be pinged for a penalty try himself right on half-time when his feet came close to knocking the ball free from Will Hopoate.

The flashpoint came in the 49th minute when Brown shot out of the line and flattened Dallin Watene-Zelezniak with a shoulder charge. He was placed on report, given ten minutes in the sin-bin and ended up sparking a wild melee.

Canterbury skipper Josh Jackson was unhappy with the hit on his fullback and fronted Brown as he was being spoken to by the officials. Lachlan Lewis was seen at one stage trying to complete what looked like a tackle on Brown.

The Eels forward has worked hard to shed his bad-boy reputation, which included a few eyebrow-raising acts including stomping on the groin of a Gold Coast opponent.

Sadly, Brown tried to fire up his teammates in the first half with three similar kamikaze runs out of the line that all missed.

Watene-Zelezniak lasted a couple of minutes before he succumbed to the pain of the shoulder charge and received treatment before he returned.

Dogs winger Reimis Smith was also given a ten-minute spell in the bin for trying to headbutt Maika Sivo, who was responsible for one of the shots of the season on Watene-Zelezniak in the first half. Johnathan Thurston was introduced to the TV commentary not long after the mega whack by Sivo and said: “They’re going hard at each other, and I’m glad I’m not out there, especially after that last hit.”

Sivo crossed the line twice in the second half, only to drop the ball twice, before the referees didn’t even bother stopping to review what he claimed to be a third attempt.

Canterbury coach Dean Pay would have loved every minute of the suburban slugfest and will seriously fancy his team’s chances for next Thursday’s trek to Townsville.

Eels counterpart Brad Arthur would have been pleased with the aggression and effort but disappointed with Brown’s brain explosion.

Arthur was not complaining about the penalty try afterwards and said: “I think Mitch played at it with his foot, so it was probably a penalty try.

“There was some good footy played. They dragged us into a fight and pressured us out of it. We need to be a bit more patient.

“It’s a lost opportunity but we aim up next week.”

As for the Brown shoulder charge, Arthur said: “I haven’t had a real close look at it, but I thought his arm was away from his body. He plays with aggression.
“I think both teams went at each other. They were desperate and kept turning up. Every time we moved the ball around they got bodies around the ball. They played well and aimed up.”

The Eels were chasing their fifth straight win and looked brilliant early, spreading the ball with speed and precision. They looked most dangerous down their right with Moses and Manu Ma’u.

Waqa Blake opened the scoring before the Dogs dug in and eventually started to get on top.

Kieran Foran was again classy for the visitors and it was his short ball to Jackson that led  to  Hopoate levelling the scores at the break.

CANTERBURY 12 (W Hopoate N Meaney tries N Meaney 2 goals)  PARRAMATTA 6 (W Blake try M Moses goal) at Bankwest Stadium. Referee: Grant Atkins, Peter Gough. Crowd: 18,071.

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