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Canterbury Bulldogs beat Wests Tigers 26-22 in multicultural round at Belmore Sports Ground


Sheens wouldn’t bring up why he benched winger David Nofoaluma midway through the second half, throwing Brandon Wakeham into the halves with Adam Doueihi replacing Charlie Staines at fullback. He flat out refused to explain why.

Temperatures nudged 33 degrees at kick-off, and it was a minor miracle the game even went ahead at the scheduled time, notwithstanding the drinks breaks and longer half-time interval.

It was the same old story – albeit with some creative twists – for Luke Brooks and the Tigers at Belmore.Credit:Getty

The NSW Cup players slogged it out in temperatures hitting 36 degrees, and on the sideline the Bulldogs’ interchange bench held umbrellas to shield themselves from the heat as fans snaked along the hill according to the shadows from the light towers.

As for Ciraldo, he’s no longer hiding in the shadows.

Sheens wanted him to take over the Tigers, and when he couldn’t get him, decided to do the job himself. Ciraldo will be sleeping well over his choice.

But he now knows what stress levels are like.

Viliame Kikau makes a bust at Belmore.

Viliame Kikau makes a bust at Belmore.Credit:Getty

“Just a little bit,” Ciraldo said. “We made it hard for ourselves. We played well for 60 minutes and that last 15 or 20 minutes, we lost our way. But we’re still a new team and we’re learning.

“I’m happy we’re getting better every week. Of course it’s frustrating we’re not an 80-minute team yet, but we’re getting closer.”

Even in the battle of his old Penrith players, Ciraldo seems to be winning. Viliame Kikau monstered good friend Api Koroisau in a couple of tackles; Matt Burton manhandled Charlie Staines.

As Kikau stepped inside Doueihi and found fullback Hayze Perham for the opening try, Koroisau jumped out of dummy-half, looked left, looked right, then realised he had no one with him. His enduring image of the first half was taking a quick tap, out of frustration almost more than logic, splitting the defence and then dropping the ball cold when clean through.

Can you ever remember him doing that at Penrith?

Josh Addo-Carr’s two long-range tries, one from a 90-metre intercept off Doueihi which Paul Alamoti snaffled, the latter when his centre again took a Doueihi bomb and scampered downfield, helped the Bulldogs to a 20-6 half-time lead. It would prove decisive.

Bateman finally played, and almost finished with a try when he grubbered through the line, toed the ball ahead again and then fumbled it trying to score.


The other recruit? David Klemmer got booed at nearly every touch, and finished the match on report for diving at the legs of Raymond Faitala-Mariner. Kikau was also booked for a crusher tackle.

But rugby league has a funny way of, well, being rugby league. After Matt Burton burst 40 metres downfield for a scintillating solo try, the Bulldogs looked home up by 20 points, a margin they held until the final quarter of an hour.

Finally, the Tigers woke up. Brooks woke up. But again, it was too late.

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