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Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels: 6 things we learned

The Parramatta Eels proved far too good for a beleaguered Bulldogs outfit in wet conditions at ANZ Stadium, running out 20-4 winners.

It won’t go down as a showpiece game or a highlight reel result for either side but the Eels adapted better to the horrid conditions to earn two valuable points, ensure finals footy for the first time since 2009 and carve another rough chapter in a terrible 2017 for long-time rivals Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

  1. 1 Wet weather footy benefits the slippery Eels

    While it wasn't the sort of weather that made for a great night at the footy for the average punter, the Eels looked to relish the wet and wild conditions at their adopted home of ANZ Stadium as they put all sorts of pressure on a struggling Bulldogs outfit.

    Many pundits thought the conditions might bring the Bulldogs back into the contest and allow them a chance to make it a grinding, tight game. But that was certainly not the case as they handed over the two points meekly yet again.

    The troubles at the Bulldogs run deep and they need significant fixing before that winning feeling will be back at the club.

  2. 2 Eels fly out of the blocks

    While the Bulldogs did their best to contain things, the Eels were the quicker of the two sides to adapt to the greasy, wet conditions. They went close on a couple of occasions and forced repeat sets before big-man Daniel Alvaro crashed over for the first try of the night.

    There was a little bit of clunkiness in the partnership of Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman at times but with enough enthusiasm and a few sloppy defensive efforts by the Bulldogs they were able to open the scoring. Parramatta continued to have the better of the opening exchanges, a stark contrast to how they fared in the first 10 minutes last week against the Broncos, where they found themselves 12-0 down early on.

  3. 3 A season summed up in one play

    With a little over 15 minutes on the clock, the Bulldogs earned a lucky penalty, giving themselves the chance to settle things down and put some rare pressure on an Eels side which led 6-0 and looked set to score more points.

    The Bulldogs had handed over a few repeat sets to the Eels and were in desperate need of a breather and some football in hand but they handed it straight back.

     Josh Morris rushed up to take the tap and put the pressure on the Parramatta defensive line. The only problem? He dropped the ball cold with no one near him. Right off the boot, Morris, one of the Dogs' best this season, dropped the ball as easily as you like.

    The play sums up almost too perfectly the scrappy, ineffectual and frustrating season the Bulldogs have endured and it left most neutrals shaking their heads in disbelief.

  4. 4 Gutherson who?

    Plenty of Eels fans were expecting the worst after Clint Gutherson succumbed to a season-ending injury but they needn't have worried given the kid Brad Arthur was able to use as his replacement.

    Bevan French, thrust in to the number one jersey from the wing in Gutherson's place, has been nothing short of remarkable over the last few weeks and he shone again for the blue and golds against the Bulldogs.

    On current form, French may force Arthur to look at his options when trying to wedge Gutherson back in to the 13-man starting lineup next season.

    There was some concern over a slight hamstring strain which kept French off the field after the break but early reports suggested it was nothing too serious.

  5. 5 Reynolds keeps fighting a lost cause

    Love him or hate him, and chances are it's one or the other, you have to hand it to Josh Reynolds. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he doesn't give up, even when the game is beyond his team.

    With the half-time siren sounding, his side losing 16-0 and barely looking like scoring, Reynolds was still engaging in a bit of verbals and some push and shove with members of the Eels side. It shows, at the very least, that he cares, something his teammates may not do given the way they are playing.

    There were a couple of flare-ups in the second stanza as the rain poured down and tempers raised. You have to credit Reynolds for his grit and fight if nothing else.

  6. 6 Is it over yet?

    Even neutrals are starting to feel sorry for the Dogs and their fans, well, maybe some of them.

    2017 has been an absolute nightmare for the Bulldogs and the end can't come quick enough for the Belmore faithful who have watched their side lurch from loss to loss, coupled with some truly terrible performances. The future of coach Des Hasler has come under scrutiny more than once on the back of these efforts.

    As the Eels forced repeat set after repeat set, ambushing fullback Will Hopoate all night, you got the feeling that the Dogs can't wait to see the back end of the 2017 season-  and who could blame them!

    What were your highlights from the Eels big win over the Bulldogs? Let us know in the comments below.

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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels: 6 things we learned

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