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Dogs beat listless Warriors in Dunedin NRL

NZN 17/03/2017

A resilient defensive effort combined with attacking potency has helped Canterbury secure a 24-12 NRL win over the Warriors.

The 12-point victory was the Bulldogs' sixth in seven games against the Warriors, and their first for the 2017 season, ultimately coming in a Dunedin 'home' game for Canterbury.

The Warriors had most of the possession in the first 20 minutes and dominated at times but couldn't create the attacking cut-through to claim the two points.

Canterbury looked solid through Brett Morris and debutant Marcelo Montoya, and produced the goods defensively with two 40-tackle performances from Michael Lichaa and Josh Jackson.

Bodene Thompson scored for the Warriors in a dominant opening quarter, but the Dogs were eventually rewarded through Moses Mbye after the halfback darted through three defenders.

The Warriors' left-edge was exposed for a second time in 10 minutes by a slick backline move which ended with winger Morris securing his second try of the season.

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler - who was under pressure heading into the match - said his side did well to overcome an early 5-0 penalty count.

"The players had to show a ton of courage and a ton of commitment," Hasler told reporters.

"I thought our tryline defence was particularly good against some pretty potent players that can cause havoc around there."

Down 10-6 at the break, the Warriors came out and controlled the opening 20 minutes of the second half but, as had been the case for the 2017 season so far, couldn't turn possession into points.

The 'visitors' dropped an early chance to regain the lead when Solomone Kata knocked on over the line, before Shaun Johnson collected an inside pass to hand his side a two-point lead.

A win looked beyond reach for the Bulldogs, but Montoya ultimately benefited from scratchy edge defence to score before Morris put the icing on the cake.

"Each time we got down there, we managed to get over the line - but we weren't there often enough," Hasler said.

For the Warriors, Simon Mannering's game-high 48 tackles was a bright spot in a lacklustre all-round performance.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney admitted his side, as they had last week against Melbourne, fell away in the second half.

"Obviously, we're all pretty disappointed in the second-half performance," Kearney said.

"It's about making sure we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get ready for next week."

The result was further soured by the aggravation of Manu Vatuvei's knee injury, forcing him off the field in the first half.

Kearney said he wasn't sure how long the hulking winger would be sidelined.

"It just didn't feel right coming out after halftime, so it was advisable that we pulled him off," Kearney said.

The Warriors will head to Sydney to take on St George Illawarra next week, while the Bulldogs will play Hasler's old club Manly.

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