They say a change is just as good as a holiday, the same often happens in the NRL and it was Canterbury Bulldogs were almost the latest beneficiaries until the St George Illawarra Dragons sealed a heartbreaking comeback.
Having had just one win for the season — coincidentally against the St George Illawarra Dragons earlier in the season — coach Dean Pay walked out on the club during the week with Canterbury leading for most of the game, until the final moments.
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It comes after the Dragons scored in a hurry within the first minute of the game to an “outrageous” catch from fullback Matt Dufty.
Euan Aitken made it 10-0 after seven minutes and the scoreline could have been anything.
The Dragons flipped the script on the Bulldogs, making their crisis worse in a slice of payback for earlier in the season.Source:Getty Images
But few expected the cellar dwellers to hit back as they did with three straight tries and a penalty goal to go up 20-10 at the break.
The Dragons were putting the pressure on most of the second half but couldn’t break the Bulldogs line, who went ahead 22-10 after a penalty goal.
That was until the 65th minute when a Dragons’ bomb was allowed to bounce, straight into the hands of winger Jason Saab’s hands to cross the line.
An Adam Clune run then tied it up at 22-all when he found Dufty to finish off the clear break, leaving the game on the line.
But with five minutes left, Dragons skipper Cam McInnes put his body on the line, copping a full blooded kick straight in the face, allowing his side to start in an attacking zone.
“That was kicked with some sort of force too,” Steve Roach said on Fox League.
Warren Smith also called it “one of the biggest falcons we’ve seen in a long time in the NRL”.
Cam McInnes cops it in the faceSource:FOX SPORTS
While the side couldn’t kick a field goal, Corey Norman earned a repeat set and missed off the next set.
But the drama wasn’t over as the Bulldogs’ Marcelo Montoya dropped the ball with about 90 seconds left, with the ball bouncing off his knee and rolling to Norman to seal the victory with a try.
Smith called it “unbelievable” while Kevin Walters said it was “an incredible finish” because he thought the Dragons were “gone with 15 minutes to go”.
But the Bulldogs got plenty of props for their performance after leading for most of the game.
😢 Heart breaking!
Plenty of heart and effort left out in the middle.#NRLDragonsBulldogs pic.twitter.com/utz0Ftfs6Y
Whatever the how and why – the most telling factor in this @NRL_Bulldogs side for some time now seems to be maximum punishment for basic unforced errors. Effort undisputed. #NRLDragonsBulldogs
Ouch. Got to feel for the Dogs after the week they’ve had. #NRLDragonsBulldogs
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