NRL 2019: Bulldogs thrash Tigers for first win of season

Canterbury have celebrated the contract extension of coach Dean Pay by holding off a second-half comeback from the Wests Tigers to claim a 22-8 NRL victory.   

Eyebrows were raised when the Bulldogs opted to hand Pay another 12 months on Friday, despite getting off to their worst NRL start in almost 50 years.   

However, Pay's men justified the club's decision - at least for a week - by scoring four tries inside the opening hour to stun the 15,127 crowd in Campbelltown.   

Led by key men Kieran Foran and Dylan Napa, as well as club debutant Nick Meaney, the Bulldogs were near flawless in a first-half ambush on Sunday.   

Foran fought through an ankle issue to score a try and set up another for Napa, who also laid one on for Adam Elliott after half-time.   

But the pressure-relieving win didn't come without a second-half scare.   

Leading 22-0 with 25 minutes to go, Pay would've grown nervous when Tiger Mahe Fonua finished off a right-side shift.   

Then the Campbelltown crowd roared to life when Luke Garner, who had overcome a shoulder injury in the first half, scored ten minutes later.   

However, the Bulldogs side showed plenty of ticker to hold on and lift themselves off the bottom of the NRL ladder for a sorely-needed victory.   

The Bulldogs were lucky to avoid conceding the opener when the bunker ruled an obstruction in the lead-up to Corey Thompson crossing the stripe.   

They then went on to take full advantage of a fierce southerly with a three-try blitzkrieg in 12 minutes, blowing the game wide open.   

First Meaney picked up a loose ball near his own goal line and ran 50 metres before Reimis Smith finished the 95-metre counter-attack.   

Three minutes later Foran dragged three defenders over the line, before the veteran five-eighth put Napa over for a three-try lead just before the break.   

Compounding the loss for the Tigers was a hamstring problem for Benji Marshall, who exited the game midway through the second half.   

AAP