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Murchie too much for Bulldogs as wooden spoon looms

Canterbury's slide toward an ignominious wooden spoon to cap the Dean Pay era has continued, with a second-half capitulation turning a 10-point lead into a 20-14 loss to the Warriors.

Two tries to Warriors back-rower Jack Murchie and a try-assist for the former Raider sparked the nomadic New Zealanders after a sluggish first half, consigning the Bulldogs to a ninth-straight week sitting in 16th place.

For all their recent struggles and Pay's mid-season exit, not since 2008 have Canterbury picked up the unwanted cutlery.

But with five weeks of the regular season left the Bulldogs are still sitting last – as they have since round seven - and two points adrift of the 15th-placed Broncos.

On effort alone throughout 2020 it is undeserved, but interim coach Steve Georgallis was left ruing a second-half clock-off that saw Canterbury left empty-handed despite leading by 10 points both before and after the break.

A slick start by the Dogs came with a sublime Tim Lafai flick pass for Nick Meaney to open the scoring, then Jeremy Marshall-King carving through some lazy marker defence with fresh legs.

His pass to Kieran Foran in support saw just enough pace left in his pins for an early 10-0 lead.

For much of the first 40 minutes the Warriors offered little, especially with their last tackle options.

That changed for one instant when Kodi Nikorima went high and Murchie snaffled his first NRL try from the mid-air scrum.

The Bulldogs 10-6 advantage held until the break and was extended immediately afterward by Will Hopoate steaming onto a Jack Cogger short ball in his return from a long-term ankle injury.

Flash from jumpin' Jack

From there though the Bulldogs went to water while the Warriors went to work.

It started with their defence.

Canterbury repeatedly found themselves unable to get out of their own end, so the Warriors duly shifted camp from Terrigal to the southern end of ANZ Stadium. 

Murchie came calling in the 50th minute with a flick pass of his own to send Adam Pompey streaking away, then backed up in support for his second try and a shock Warriors lead.

Rookie Warriors half Paul Turner was denied a debut try not once but twice by the NRL Bunker in the space of three minutes, though there was no doubt about the double movement or obstruction calls that kept the Bulldogs in it.

But when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck slid through from 30 out there was no doubt either, Kodi Nikorima providing the pop pass and Foran a feeble tackle attempt that sounded the Dogs death knell.

A tough two-from-four day off the kicking tee for Nikorima gave the Bulldogs a sniff.

Vintage Lafai sets up Meaney

Poor passes and chaotic finishing befitting a 16th-placed side ensured that was all it amounted to.

The Warriors now have five more outings before they go home, pride in their performances and due reward seemingly growing by the week.

The Bulldogs have the same five weeks and an increasingly uphill slog to avoid the NRL's shoddiest silverware.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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