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13 February 2023

IAN RIGG Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, Sunday

A superb performance by the Lions gave them a deserved victory over the Bulldogs on their home turf for the first time in seven years. Lions coach Allan Coleman made changes to his team after the narrow defeat by Newcastle and the Bulldogs also had to reshuffle after losing some of his squad to injury in their defeat in London last week, but don’t take anything away from the Lions performance playing up the slope in the first half they took an early lead when Dan Abram landed a twenty-metre penalty goal for obstruction. They went further ahead on sixteen minutes when Gav Rodden won a one on one ball steal in the Bulldogs twenty and a few passes later Rhodri Lloyd sent Mike Butt over in the left corner but Abram could not convert from the touchline.

Bulldogs then started to get into the game and hooker Ben Kaye was held up on twenty-two minutes and they scored their opening try three minutes later when Lucas Walshaw went over on the right but James Meadows could not convert. Morgan Burgess then went close for the Lions before Bulldogs controversially took the lead on thirty-two minutes when they put up a high kick from around half way and the Bulldogs chasing pack down the left looked offside to the naked eye and as the ball came down Jayden Hatton went for it but collided with the Bulldogs winger and the ball bounced to the hands of Dane Manning who raced in at the corner against the protests from the side lines and Meadows added the conversion to this one. The Lions finished the half strongly and had a couple of chances before the break with Andy Badrock going closest. It had been an outstanding defensive display from Allan Colemans team to go in only four points behand at the break.

The home side had the better start to the second half playing up the slope and went further ahead on forty-seven minutes when Kieran Buchanan finished off a passing movement to score on the left with Meadows again on target with the conversion.

The Lions then too control of the game with Louis Brogan going close of fifty-four minutes and Abram also four minutes later. Josh Eaves scored his first Lions try just after the hour when he darted over to the left of the posts after Kenny Baker had gone close and Abram converted. Try of the match came on sixty-three minutes when Rodden broke down the right leaving Manning in his wake before drawing Meadows and handing the ball onto the supporting Badrock and he raced away to score under the posts with Abram converting.

Young Saints prop George Delaney had an impressive debut for the Lions cutting huge holes in the Bulldogs defence and Louis Brogan was doing the same. The Lions fourth try came on seventy minutes when the won their first scrum of the match in the Bulldogs thirty and Abram linked with the attack to take on several defenders near the line to twist over and score on the right and add the conversion too. Bulldogs had a chance with six minutes left but Nyle Flynn was held up but it was the Lions who scored again with two minutes left when again Rodden exploited a gap in the Bulldogs defence to race through and send the supporting Ollie Olds away to score his first Lions try under the posts in front of the noisy Lions fans and Abram converted again to cement a fine performance for the team.


BULLDOGS – Meadows, Johnson, Walshaw, Buchanan, Campbell, White, Woods, Hirst, Kaye, Gledhill, Flynn, Manning, Blake. SUBS- Leak, Reilly, Lillycrop, Ward.

Tries: Walshaw (25), Manning (32), Buchanan (47)

Goals: Meadows 2/3

LIONS – Abram, Butt, Lloyd, Badrock, Hatton, Olds, Gibson, Baker, Waterworth, Delaney, Cox, Rodden, Brogan. SUBS- Eaves, Case, Cooper, Burgess.

Tries: Butt (16), Eaves (61), Badrock (63), Abram (70), Olds (78)

Goals: 5/6

Referee:  Aaron Moore Pens: 8-4 Half-time: 10-6


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