Home Editor Picks ‘So bad you’ve got to try and laugh’: Dragons coach finds the funny side of demolition as Lomax binned in final Origin audition

‘So bad you’ve got to try and laugh’: Dragons coach finds the funny side of demolition as Lomax binned in final Origin audition

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‘So bad you’ve got to try and laugh’: Dragons coach finds the funny side of demolition as Lomax binned in final Origin audition

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The Bulldogs finish a 44-12 thumping of the Dragons on a run of seven unanswered tries as they kick off NRL Indigenous Round on Burramattagal and Wann-gal land at the Olympic stadium.

Matt Burton did his utmost to push for selection as New South Wales’s State of Origin five-eighth, with two tries, 20 points and more than 400 kicking metres.

Jaeman Salmon and Jacob Kiraz also got doubles for the Dogs as they turned around a 12-6 deficit, while the Dragons’ night was made even worse by the loss of centre Jack Bird to a nasty ankle injury.

Dragons coach Shane Flanagan opened his post-match press conference looking like a defeated man, reflecting on his journey from winning the 2016 premiership with Cronulla to now.

“Last time I was in this room I’d won a comp. How things have changed,” he said, dropping his head to the table.

“It’s so bad you’ve got to try and laugh about it.”

Zac Lomax, vying for a wing spot for the Blues in Origin I on June 5, was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 63rd minute as the game got out of hand.

Look back at all the action in our the live blog below, and check out all the latest stats in our ScoreCentre.

Key events

And we’ll leave you there

We’ll be back tomorrow night for the rematch of the 2005 grand final, including reuniting two Tigers teammates from that night in the coaching boxes, as Todd Payten’s Cowboys take on Benji Marshall’s Tigers on Wulgurukaba country.

Then, the Storm travel to Garigal land for another grudge match from years past against the Manly Sea Eagles.

We’ll be bringing you all the action in another live blog, but until then, have a hell of a night and day to come.

‘Sky’s the limit’ for Matt Burton

Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo doesn’t want to talk State of Origin, but he’s dragged into a conversation about the brilliance of Matt Burton and he seems to think Burton has a few levels to get to.

“He’s going a lot better [than he was earlier in the year] but the sky’s the limit for him. If he puts it all together it’s not going to be a debate if he’s in that team,” Ciraldo says.

Captain Stephen Crichton says he wants to see Burton running the ball more. He had 71 running metres and no tackle breaks tonight.

“When he’s attacking the game and running the ball, that’s when he’s at his best,” Crichton says.

And what about Josh Addo-Carr? Ciraldo says is playing better football than when he was picked for the Blues last year, saying he’s more mature, playing better and has added 4 or 5 kilos of muscle.

“He’s doing this carnivore diet that he reckons helps him,” he says.

More like Josh Addo-Carnivore. Amirite?

Shane Flanagan finding the funny side

To the credit of Shane Flanagan, after that performance from his team, he’s come into his press conference with a pretty solid joke.

“Last time I was in this room, I’d won a comp. How things have changed,” he says as he drops his head to the table.

“It’s so bad you’ve got to try and laugh about it.”

But how do you go about fixing it?

“If I could put my finger on exactly, I’d fix it. It’s a tricky one. Maybe we’re pushing the limits and I’m squeezing the lemon on a couple of [players].”

As the Bulldogs’ team song rings out through the walls, Flanagan says the coaching staff will “without a doubt … for sure” be looking at personnel changes.

“If you keep getting these results and you keep picking the same side, they’ll have to find a new coach.”

Matt Burton couldn’t have done much more

With the New South Wales five-eighth sport up for grabs, the only thing Matt Burton could have done more tonight was beat a better opposition.

Burton finished with two tries, 20 points, and over 400 kicking metres (which would’ve been more if they weren’t scoring every time down the field),

We’ll be hearing from both coaches and captains momentarily

I can’t imagine what Shane Flanagan will have to say after that effort for his team. Coming off the bye, it’s like they forgot to turn up for a second straight week.

And the Bulldogs, well they were just scoring at will in that second half. Looked like too much fun, because the Dragons were offering so little by way of resistance.

FULL-TIME: And so ends a genuine demolition for the Bulldogs over the Dragons

Bulldogs players jump on Stephen Crichton after a try in an NRL game against the Dragons.
(Getty)

The Bulldogs started the second half having had 47 per cent of the possession. They end the game with 57 per cent, and that’s because, from the 46th minute they just didn’t stop scoring tries.

They finished with eight tries to two, including seven straight unanswered in the second half to wrap up the 44-12 win.

The Bulldogs are in again and that will do us for the night

Bailey Hayward lobs a cut-out pass over the top and Jacob Kiraz leaps and somersaults in for the Bulldogs’ last in the 79th minute.

Even taking the injuries into account, this second half has been abysmal for the Dragons.

74′ Zac Lomax’s first act back on the field is a blatant penalty

Ben Hunt chips over the top from deep in the Dragons’ half for Zac Lomax, but he arrives late and takes out Toby Sexton as he leaps for the catch.

Shocking tackle. Lucky not to be straight back in the bin.

The Bulldogs kick on the second and Stephen Crichton goes in

Fullback Tyrell Sloan is up in the line as Zac Lomax is still in the sin-bin, so Connor Tracey chips over the top down the right on the second tackle and Stephen Crichton is the chasing player within coo-ee.

Burton’s conversion makes it 40-12.

Mercy rule?

Another Bulldogs try? Sure, why not.

The points are flowing like water now, with the Bulldogs getting into shape from 30 metres out, putting Bronson Xerri outside, and he pops it back over the top with a basketball pass to Matt Burton.

64′ Zac Lomax goes to the sin-bin

Josh Addo-Carr breaks down the left and chips over the top. Bronson Xerri looks like he’s there for it, but the bounce is bad and Zac Lomax gets a hand to it, but he can’t handle cleanly and Xerri bounces his attempt to ground the ball.

And, to make matters worse, Lomax is sin-binned for a professional foul for putting hands on Xerri as the chip was in the air.

Zac Lomax is sent for 10 minutes in the sin bin by referee Adam Gee.
(Getty)

That’s right by the letter of the law, but 10 minutes for those hands to the shoulder of Xerri is such a harsh punishment.

Matt Burton slots a penalty goal from out wide to make it 30-12.

Another try for the Bulldogs that’s just too easy

Tom Eisenhuth, fresh out of the hands of the trainers, falls off another tackle as Reed Mahoney sends Jacob Preston at his injured right shoulder from close to the line, and Eisenhuth makes even less impact than he did in the lead-up to the first Salmon try.

Jacob Preston shouts after scoring a try for the Bulldogs.
(Getty)

That shoulder must have been hurt already, because that tackle looked so similar to the Salmon miss.

60′ Jack de Belin knocks on and the Dogs are barking again

The errors are putting the Dragons under so much pressure, and the exhausted defence looks flimsy to say the least.

And Tom Eisenhuth is down injured in back play now.

Forward passes galore

That Bulldogs try came a few plays after a blatant forward pass to Kikau. I am sick of forward passes being allowed which often determine the game outcome. And why isn’t the video ref allowed to judge on forward passes?

– Lawrie

I know exactly the forward pass you’re talking about, and it was egregious.

As far as the bunker goes, the camera angles just make it impossible to make a definitive ruling.

Jacob Kiraz goes over as the Bulldogs keep rumbling on

We may come back for an obstruction in back play, but for now the Dogs have their third in 10 minutes.

BUlldogs players celebrate a try as Dragons players lament during an NRL game.
(Getty)

The try is confirmed. Tom Eisenhuth tried to milk a penalty by going down after the decoy run of Jacob Preston, but the bunker didn’t care.

56′ Dragons tiring

Some poor defence and errors creeping in for the Dragons, who lost prop Hame Sele as well as centre Jack Bird earlier in the game.

Another simple error, this time from Zac Lomax in the play the ball, hands the Bulldogs the ball back 20 metres out.

Salmon is in again

It starts the other side of halfway, with some quick hands out to the right unleashing Jacob Kirz, who pops a ball back in-field to Reed Mahoney, and he holds off the tackle of Kyle Flanagan to offload to Salmon, who’d handled earlier in the play, and he dives in for his second try in a couple of minutes.

Jaeman Salmon slips through for the Dogs

Absolutely woeful defence from the Dragons, with Jaeman Salmon jogging to the line as  Tom Eisenhuth shoots up. Salmon just bounces out of a tepid tackle attempt, and Luciano Leilua’s effort in behind is similarly abysmal, allowing Salmon to score one of the easiest tries he’ll ever score.

We’re all square at 12-12.

Word on Jack Bird’s ankle injury

Zac Lomax reaches out to touch Dragons teammate Jack Bird as he leaves an NRL game on a medicab.
(Getty)

According to ABC Sport sideline reporter Ruan Sims: “They don’t believe it’s broken but there could be some serious ligament damage.”

Why comment?

Just wondering why anyone would leave a comment if the blog (?, yep, that’s me, somewhat ITillerate) doesn’t show any comments? Are you scarred by any chance John? Hope not, you bloggers do such a great job

– Rumplestiltskin

For banter purposes, of course.

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