Dogs enjoy homecoming party ahead of Origin decider
NEW South Wales Origin coach Laurie Daley would have breathed a sigh of relief as four of his Blues stars came through unscathed and showed some great form as the Bulldogs smashed the Melbourne Storm 20-4 at Belmore Sports Ground.
David Klemmer was at his rampaging best with some storming runs to break open the Storm defence, while Trent Hodkinson was involved in two tries and Josh and Brett Morris each scored a four-pointer as the Dogs celebrated their return to their spiritual home for the first time since 1998 with a splendid performance. The Storm was the opponent 17 years ago but while that game was tight, with the Bulldogs winning 8-4, this one never looked like being close as the home team came storming out of the blocks.
Brett Morris touched down in the fourth minute, racing on to a Curtis Rona grubber after good work from Hodkinson down the left.
Moments later, after a rollicking run from Klemmer had forced a penalty, Hodkinson freed second-rower Shaun Lane down the right and he broke a couple of weak tackles to score his first try in the NRL.
There was no stopping the Dogs at this stage and they grabbed a third try inside 13 minutes as Hodkinson and Lane combined to put Sam Perrett in the corner.
The Storm did work its way back into the game as the half wore on but there was no way through a determined Dogs defence.
Josh Morris added another try six minutes after the break but the Storm began to get more territory in the second half without really threatening until Marika Koroibete scored right on full-time but it did not spoil the party for the 16,764 fans in attendance.