Smith gam­ble a dud

Roost­ers left a player short due to in­ter­change bun­gle

Townsville Bulletin - - NRL -

SYD­NEY Roost­ers coach Brian Smith ad­mit she gam­bled and lost in a game of in­ter­change roulette that left his side with 12 men for the cru­cial fi­nal min­utes of yes­ter­day’s 24-20 NRL loss to Can­ter­bury.

The Roost­ers played out the fi­nal 10 min­utes of the see­saw­ing match a man down af­ter winger Sam Per­rett con­tin­ued a hor­ror week­end of in­juries by suf­fer­ing a sus­pected bro­ken an­kle in the 70th minute at ANZ Sta­dium.

With for­ward Mose Ma­soe hav­ing run on for Ja­son Ryles sec­onds ear­lier, it meant the Roost­ers could make no more re­place­ments as they fever­ishly chased down the four-point deficit.

‘‘ You run the roulette with in­ter­change ev­ery week but to­day I think the ball jumped off the ta­ble,’’ Smith said.

‘‘ I’ve got to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for that.

‘ ‘ That’s s ome­where be­tween un­for­giv­able and very dumb. And a bit un­lucky.’’

Smith s ai d he ‘ ‘ al most al­ways’’ saved his fi­nal in­ter­change un­til the fi­nal five min­utes, but had a hunch Ma­soe would help his side come from be­hind.

‘‘ We were chas­ing points and Mose had been very good for us in the first cou­ple of stints he’d done be­fore and af­ter half­time so I felt the urge to make the sig­nif­i­cant change that it was and you hope that no one gets in­jured. I’m not happy with my­self but them’s the breaks.

‘‘ I’m tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for not hav­ing 13 play­ers on the field in the last 10 min­utes and it could well have caused us to win if we’d had him there.’’

Bull­dogs coach Kevin Moore said the Roost­ers’ predica­ment had sur­prised him.

‘‘ It’s easy to be crit­i­cal postgame but you ob­vi­ously have a plan and things go to plan prob­a­bly eight times out of 10,’’ Moore said.

The Roost­ers cer­tainly didn’t look like they were un­der­manned as they threw ev­ery­thing at the Dogs in the fi­nal min­utes.

In a phys­i­cal en­counter played in front of 23,723 fans, Bull­dogs full­back Ben Barba and Roost­ers cen­tre Shaun Kenny - Dowall bagged dou­bles in a four-tries apiece af­fair that was ul­ti­mately de­cided by goal­kick­ing.

Can­ter­bury’s Bryson Good­win booted four from five, while Roost­ers skip­per Braith Anasta could only man­age two from four.

The Bull­dogs led 18-14 af­ter a see­saw­ing first half in which they had led 12-0 af­ter 13 min­utes, with Michael En­nis and Ja­mal Idris scor­ing their first two tries. The Roost­ers hit back through Todd Car­ney and Ken­nyDowall but al­lowed Barba to grab his first be­fore the break when he latched on to a bril­liant Corey Payne off­load.

They ex­tended their lead by two with a Good­win penalty goal and clung to their lead when Trent Hod­kin sonama zingly pre­vented Roost­ers winger BJ Leilua ground­ing the scraps of a Car­ney kick.

Barba got his sec­ond try in the 51st minute af­ter Trent Hod­kin­son had made the bust and it was 24-14. But it was game on when Ken­nyDowall got his sec­ond in the 63rd minute for 24-20.

‘‘ I wouldn’t say we more than matched them but prob­a­bly matched them is a fair s u mmar y , ’ ’ Smith said . ‘‘ Look­ing at the stats, we beat them ev­ery­where but on the score­board to­day.’’

COP THAT: Rooster Jake Friend fights it out with Ja­mal Idris yes­ter­day

Roost­ers 20 Bull­dogs 24

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