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Easts Overcome by Bulldogs in Flegg Semi Final

The Sydney Roosters were defeated 26-6 by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the Jersey Flegg Cup Semi-Final on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval. 

Despite impressive efforts from hooker Alan Holten and fullback Owen Flaherty throughout the contest, the Bulldogs proved too strong running in five unanswered tries to sweep away the Minor Premiers. 

A spiralling bomb from Jake Elliot allowed the Roosters to apply some early pressure, which they used to their advantage to send Owen Flaherty under the posts untouched, following a deft tap-on by Corey Ross. The try was converted by Vaiala Tamati to give the hosts a 6-0 lead.

A repeat set of six in dangerous field position gifted the Bulldogs an avenue back into the match, as winger Jordi Mazzone beat the Roosters defence to a Joseph O’Neill grubber in the in-goal area, narrowing the margin to two points with 11 minutes played.

Seven minutes later Mazzone had his second, acrobatically finishing off a slick left edge move from Canterbury-Bankstown to give them a lead for the first time in the contest. Joash Papalii converted the try to make it 10-6.

A barnstorming run towards the line from prop Taylor Losalu looked to breathe some life back into the Red, White, and Blue as they searched for a response, but the Bulldogs defence remained steadfast, shutting out Alan Holten inches from the line on the last play of the set.

It was the Bulldogs who would strike next however, as back-rower Luke Smith found the line just one minute before the break after some shifty play out of dummy half by Joash Papalii. Papalii converted to extend their lead to 10 points as the siren sounded.

Canterbury-Bankstown continued their scoring spree six minutes after the interval, as Mazzone completed his hattrick and made the score 20-6 with another sensational finish in the corner, flying onto a short ball from centre Danny Gabrael.

Looking for a shift in momentum, the Roosters found valuable field position after a strong effort from Angus Fahey to bundle Bulldog Karl Oloapu into touch allowed them a rare attacking set in the opposing half.

Strong defence from the Bulldogs prevented a crucial four-pointer for the Roosters however, keeping the margin at 14.

A Herculean one-on-one tackle with 15 minutes to play by Flaherty on Bulldogs winger William Afualo kept the Red, White, and Blue in the contest, saving a certain try on the line as Canterbury-Bankstown looked to kill the match off once and for all.

Despite a mountain of possession, the Roosters failed to find the line again, and the victory for Canterbury-Bankstown was sealed when lock Damon Marshall slammed the ball down under the posts as the final siren sounded. The try was converted by Papalii to seal a comfortable 26-6 victory.

The Sydney Roosters will return to Leichhardt Oval next Saturday for a sudden death clash with Parramatta Eels, with the winner set to meet the Bulldogs in the Grand Final the following week.

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.