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Dogs deliver NRL top-four blow to Broncos

Boilover: Will Hopoate celebrates his try with Lachlan Lewis on Thursday night. Photo: AAPCanterbury have put a massive dent in Brisbane’s top-four hopes, shocking the finals-bound Broncos 36-22 at ANZ Stadium.
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After they leapt to a 14-0 lead early, the Bulldogs withstood a late first-half fightback from Brisbane before scoring three second-half tries in seven minutes to wrap up the win.

It completed their first back-to-back wins of the year and put them one step further away from the wooden spoon.

And it also left Brisbane vulnerable with the possibility they could be two wins outside the top four at the end of the round.

The loss was Brisbane’s fourth against a bottom-eight side, and left them in danger of finishing the round in eighth with a negative for-and-against.

“I’m extremely disappointed by it,” coach Wayne Bennett said.

“They had all the enthusiasm and all the energy and we’re just lacking in those areas.

“Our problem is we get two or three weeks of football and we throw one of these games in. And it’s against the bottom eight teams on all the occasions.”

The match wasn’t free of controversy, with the NRL confirming they will investigate alleged comments made by a Bulldogs trainer to a referee at halftime.

It’s understood the Bulldogs were upset when Josh Morris was denied a quick tap in the first half where he crossed to score before being called back.

Regardless, halves Lachlan Lewis and Matt Frawley were tremendous for Canterbury as they put on their equal-highest score of the season.

In his sixth game, Lewis had two try-assists – including a pinpoint perfect kick for Josh Morris in the second half – forced two line dropouts and made a point of shutting down the far bigger Tevita Pangai in defence.

“He was terrific,” coach Dean Pay said.

“There are parts of his game we need to work on and get better.

“But his attitude and effort with what he does with his footy is terrifc.”

Frawley was a late call-up after regular No.7 Jeremy Marshall-King was ruled out with tonsillitis.

The stand-in halfback crossed once out of dummy-half and broke through four tackles in his first game since being dropped after round 15.

Winger Reimis Smith also made two linebreaks leading to tries for teammates Brett Morris and Will Hopoate.

In comparison, Brisbane were all at sea with the exception of a 10-minute period before halftime when prop Korbin Sims was denied a hat-trick.

They gifted Canterbury one try when Corey Oates jumped to bat a short line dropout back before Michael Lichaa scooped it up and put Josh Jackson over.

Anthony Milford’s kicking game also lagged in the second half before he and Jamayne Isaako crossed for late consolation tries.

Sims scored their only other tries, twice barging over for tries at first receiver before being penalised for a double movement that could’ve given Brisbane the lead just before the break.

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