Bulldogs’ promise blunted by attack weapon’s injury

Scott Bailey |

Canterbury showed signs of attacking strength against Souths before Josh Addo-Carr’s injury.
Canterbury showed signs of attacking strength against Souths before Josh Addo-Carr’s injury.

Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo saw a glimpse of how lethal the Bulldogs left-edge attack can look in their 20-16 loss to South Sydney.

And then for the second time this season, it was taken away in an instant.

With his side up 12-10 just before halftime on Good Friday, the Bulldogs’ attack looked as good as it has in years.

Matt Burton was playing with confidence. Viliame Kikau was running onto the ball powerfully. Josh Addo-Carr and Stephen Crichton were flying outside of him.

For once, the club that has constantly rated among the NRL’s worst attacking teams for the past seven years was appearing threatening.

Then as Addo-Carr scurried for the line to give Canterbury a 16-10 lead, he was knocked out cold by Latrell Mitchell’s leg.

The collision was accidental, but its flow-on effects hurt the Bulldogs.

Addo-Carr was seen walking around the sideline late in the game, but is now certain to miss next Friday’s clash with the Sydney Roosters.

Josh Addo-Carr.
Addo-Carr has had a poor run with injuries to start the season. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

By the time round five is over, the Bulldogs flyer will have played a total of 80 minutes of football this season after also suffering a shoulder injury in round one.

“I thought we were starting to click there, we were asking some nice questions,” Ciraldo said.

“To lose Foxx (Addo-Carr) on the stroke of halftime was quite disappointing.

“A few personnel changes there in the second half (hurt). We had to do a bit of swapping around there.

“It’s not ideal, but we’re still confident we could have probably executed better than what we did.

Ciraldo also hinted at other frustrations.

The Bulldogs coach would not comment on suggestions of a hip-drop tackle on Jacob Preston from Jack Wighton, forcing an error on attack in the first half.

Ciraldo made a point to say Preston had finished the game with an ankle injury, but would not discuss the legality of the tackle.

Preston was sin-binned in the Good Friday clash last year for a hip-drop, only for the NRL to admit the following day the tackle was fine.

“Oh I remember that well,” Ciraldo said.

“I honestly didn’t see today’s that closely.”

In commentary, Andrew Johns suggested the tackle had looked like a hip-drop motion, though replays suggested Wighton did not land on Preston’s leg.

Preston said afterwards he would not require scans on his ankle, and also would not comment on the tackle from Wighton.

“I won’t comment on it. I haven’t seen it yet. That’s footy, mate,” Preston said.