The Wests Tigers heaped more misery on the struggling Canterbury Bulldogs as they cruised to a 30-6 victory at the Bankwest Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Tigers wing pairing of Tommy Talau and David Nofoaluma both ran in two scores as the Wests' leapfrogged the Rabbitohs to move up to seventh in the table.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs sit rock bottom of the table after the Gold Coast Titans victory over the Brisbane Broncos yesterday. They have collected just two points from their opening seven games of the campaign.
Story of the match
The hosts went into the game at the foot of the NRL Ladder after the Gold Coast Titans saw off the struggling Brisbane Broncos yesterday and they had the worst possible start as Will Hopoate hobbled off with an ankle injury after just three minutes.
Despite the loss of their fullback, it was the Bulldogs who looked the stronger through the early exchanges and they took a deserved lead in the 18th minute when Reimis Smith got on the end of Kieran Foran's perfectly weighted kick. Jake Averillo added the extras to give the 'Dogs an early 6-0 lead.
That lead didn't last for long though. The Tiger's ran the play down the short side to create the space for David Nofoaluma who - despite the best efforts of the Bulldogs defence - managed to stay in touch and stick a grubber kick into the danger zone. Harry Grant scooped it up to touch down. Moses Mbye was on target with his conversion attempt. 6-6.
Despite their promising start, the Bulldogs fell behind shortly before half time when Keiran Holland's error allowed Talau to get over for his first of the season. The 'Dogs three made a complete hash of his effort to deal with Brooks' high bomb. Sam McIntyre scooped up the loose ball and threw the ball wide to Talau who walked in unopposed. Mbye pulled his conversion wide of the upright as the hosts lead by four.
It was the start of a quickfire five minutes for the Tigers who extended their lead to ten on the stroke of half-time. Big centre Joseph Leilua powering over from close range to touch down, despite the best efforts of four or five Bulldog's defenders. Mbye made it 2/3 with the boot to give the Tigers a healthy lead at the break.
Talau may have had to wait until tonight to get his first of the season but his second soon followed when he produced a moment of absolute brilliance as produced some acrobatic brilliance to remain in the field of play under great pressure from the Bulldogs defence and touch down one-handed in the corner. Another sideline conversion from Mbye was again dragged wide of the upright.
A moment of defensive brilliance from Dallin Watene-Zelezniak prevented Adam Doueihi from furthering the visitors lead when he got underneath the Tiger's fullback and held him up when he looked destined to score but that reprieve was shortlived as the Tigers got over for their fifth score of the game shortly afterwards.
The 'Dogs were in possession on their 20 as Foran attempted a cut-out pass to the left flank but Nofoaluma was alert to the opportunity and stepped forward to intercept the pass and race away to score. Mbye again off target with his conversion attempt.
The Tigers second half dominance continued in the 60th minute when Luke Brooks made a 30-metre break before playing a reverse grubber kick infield towards Mbye. He collected the ball before being brought down 20m from the line but it wasn't to stop them. The ball was worked to Nofoaluma on the right flank to touch down for his second score of the night. Mbye's conversion attempt from the touchline was on target. The Tigers lead by 24 points with 18 minutes left on the clock.
Things went from bad to worse for the struggling Bulldogs as Doueihi finally got over for the try that his performance warranted in the 72nd minute. The fullback collected Harry Grant's flat pass five-metres out and crashed over for his sides seventh score of the night. Mbye's torrid night with the boot continued. The Tigers up by 34 points to six.
That would be how it would end as the Canterbury Bulldogs - despite a promising opening quarter - fell to a sixth defeat in seven this season as the pressure continues to mount on Dean Pay.
What's next for both sides
The Canterbury Bulldogs tricky schedule continues next time out as they come up against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
For the Tigers its a clash against the Penrith Panthers in what promises to be a thrilling clash at the Campbelltown Stadium