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Chad Townsend breaks the line : NRL Round 23 - Sharks v Bulldogs at Toyota Stadium

The last time the Bulldogs visited the Sutherland Shire, Southern Cross Group Stadium was known as Toyota Park and the two teams bore very little resemblance to those that will take the field on Saturday night.

It was a Monday Night football clash back in 2011, between a Sharks team struggling towards the tail end of the NRL ladder and a Bulldogs club that had sacked coach Kevin Moore mid-season and would eventually finish outside the top eight.

For varying reasons, the Sharks taking a home game to Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford in 2013 and anomalies in the NRL scheduling which has seen the teams meet just once and away from the Sharks home in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and the Bulldog fans just might need directions to find the game on Saturday evening.

A Monday night in Round 23, 2011, was the last time the two met in the Shire, played in front of just a few more than 8,000 fans in a match where the Bulldogs would prevail, finishing on top 19-12 in claiming two premiership points that would ultimately mean little in terms of title winning prospects that particular season.

It wasn’t a game for the ages, a match the Bulldogs led 12-6 at the half time break and went on to score a seven-point victory.

Ben Barba, who would later become a Grand Final hero at the Sharks, scored a try for the Dogs, Sam Tagataese would get one for a Sharks side which had six players – Ricky Leutele, Wade Graham, Chad Townsend, Jayson Bukuya, Paul Gallen and Tagataese – who are still a part of the team today.

Those with long memories will remember the match for two incidents, one when Frank Pritchard knocked Wade Graham senseless with a shoulder charge, the second involving Jamal Idris trying to rip the shorts from Nathan Gardner, exposing the Sharks fullback’s rear end.

Five of the Bulldogs are still around and on that particular night there was no Michael Ennis for Canterbury, with Josh Reynolds wearing the number nine jersey in his absence.

Plenty of water has flowed under the bridge as they would say since that last Bulldogs visit, with the fortunes of both teams changing significantly, the Sharks claiming the title in 2016 and the Dogs becoming consistent contenders under the coaching of Des Hasler.

It will be good to have them back, with all Sharks fans encouraged to give the Dogs a very ‘special’ reception come Saturday night.

SHARKS                                                BULLDOGS
1.            Nathan GARDNER            1.            Ben BARBA

17.          Colin BEST                     2.            Steve TURNER

3.            Ben POMEROY                3.            Josh MORRIS

4.            Ricky LEUTELE                4.            Jamal IDRIS

5.            Nathan STAPLETON         5.            Jonathan WRIGHT

6.            Wade GRAHAM                6.            Kris KEATING

7.            Chad TOWNSEND            17.          Trent HODKINSON

8.            Kade SNOWDEN               8.            Aiden TOLMAN

9.            John MORRIS                   9.            Josh REYNOLDS

10.          Luke DOUGLAS                 10.          Sam KASIANO

11.          Jeremy SMITH                   11.          Frank PRITCHARD

12.          Jayson BUKUYA                 12.          Andrew RYAN (c)

13.          Paul GALLEN (c)                13.          Dene HALATAU

14.          Anthony TUPOU               14.          Greg EASTWOOD

15.          Sam TAGATAESE              19.          Trent CUTLER

18.          Josh CORDOBA                 20.          Mickey PAEA

19.          Paul AITON                      21.          David STAGG


Bulldogs 19
Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Dene Halatau tries, Turner 3 goals, Trent Hodkinson field goal
Sharks 12
Sam Tagataese, Nathan Gardner tries, Nathan Stapleton 2 goals


Match Highlights – Courtesy of Youtube – CLICK HERE

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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