Bulldogs give title contenders plenty to ponder

Monday May 07, 2018 Written by Published in League

The rise of the Titikaveka Bulldogs should give domestic rugby league title contenders a lot to ponder on ahead of the knockouts.

After a mixed start in the opening round of the weekly league, the Meti Noovao-coached side has found the winning form to get their title defending campaign back on track.

And the win over the competition points table leaders Avatiu Nikao Eels over the weekend is an indication that the Bulldogs are ready to put their bodies on the line to win the premiership title for the second consecutive time.

On Saturday at a soggy Swamp, the Eels and Bulldogs fought tooth and nail in an intense round 13 affair which saw the visitors sneak away with a 22-12 win.

The home side had an early lead and maintained their form to take a slender 6-4 advantage at the break.

In the second half, a dominant Bulldogs took control of the match to convert two penalties and a try from Sai Nagi for a 14-6 lead midway the spell.

Eels came out strong in the remainder of the match and after a relentless effort, they managed to break a tough Bulldogs defence line to cushion the deficit to 12-14.

This send the match into an exciting final quarter but indiscipline from the Eels, coupled with some controversial calls by the match officials saw the Bulldogs survive a mighty scare.

A lapse of concentration from the Eels defenders allowed the lanky Nagi to seep through again and score the winning try for the Bulldogs followed by a penalty in the dying stages which sealed the 22-12 win.

In the other premier match over the weekend, Arorangi Bears were taken to the wire by the visiting Aitutaki Sharks in an interesting tussle on Friday at Raemaru Park. A try in the dying stages saved the Bears blushes as the match ended in a 26-all draw.

TKV Warriors remain winless after a 54-14 battering from the Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles on Saturday.

Eels which have finished all their matches in the preliminary rounds still leads the competition by a point, ahead of Tupapa Panthers which has a good chance to win the minor premiership title when they play Sharks this weekend.

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