Rugby League

Kikau helps Bulldogs beat Storm in stunning upset victory

March 11, 2023 10:45 pm

[Source: Canterbury Bulldogs/Twitter]

Fiji Bati star Viliame Kikau played an instrumental role to help Canterbury Bulldogs outgun the Storm 26-12 in NRL thriller at AAMI Park.

The Bulldogs went in as heavy underdogs but took the game up to Melbourne early and were rewarded with the opening try through second-gamer Jake Preston, who stormed onto a Reed Mahoney pass on the right edge and got the ball down despite the attention of three defenders.

Melbourne found their groove and threatened to grab their first through Nelson Asofa-Solomona but four Bulldogs defenders muscled up and denied the Storm big man.

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When Young Tonumaipea was sent to the bin for a professional foul in the 25th minute the Bulldogs were quick to pounce, winger Jacob Kiraz cruising in to the right corner to make it 10-0.

Another dazzling attacking raid by Canterbury in the 34th minute set former Storm man Josh Addo-Carr free on the left wing and he dived in to make it 16-0 with Matt Burton’s sideline conversion.

On the stroke of half-time the Bulldogs went close to a fourth try when Burton grubbered ahead and Viliame Kikau picked up the ball to score but replays showed Addo-Carr had knocked on as he tried to regather the kick.

A storming run by bench forward Franklin Pele put the Bulldogs on the front foot and a quick shift to the right gave Kiraz the chance to show his strength to get across for his second try of the night early in the second term.

Bulldogs hooker Mahoney nailed a 40-20 in the 48th minute and the visitors rubbed more salt into the Melbourne wounds with a try to Jake Averillo, who carried three defenders over the line to make it 26-0.

The Storm took their first steps on the long road back when Asofa-Solomona crossed in the 53rd minute and Nick Meaney converted to cut the margin to 20.

A blow for the Storm soon after when Asofa-Solomona left the field with a knee injury but superstars Harry Grant and Jahrome Hughes lifted, the Kangaroos hooker putting the Kiwi playmaker in for a try in the 58th minute.

Down by 14 and with time running out the Storm muscled up in defence to force a mistake from Ryan Sutton but Melbourne’s attack wouldn’t click when they needed it to and the Dogs snuffed out the raid.

With Mahoney controlling the game out of dummy half and Kikau muscling up in defence the Bulldogs held on for their first win at AAMI Park since 2016.

[Source: NRL]