A sickening head clash between Bulldogs teammates has left commentators stunned in the Good Friday clash between Canterbury and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
South Sydney have romped home to a 36-16 on the back of a hattrick from champion hooker Damien Cook blew the Bulldogs away.
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The Bulldogs started well, scoring out wide off a brilliant floating pass from Kyle Flanagan to Brent Naden to score first.
Canterbury looked to be the better of the teams for the first half an hour but when things go wrong for the Bulldogs at the moment, they go very wrong.
But after repeated infringements in an attempt to slow the play the ball, Jeremy Marshall-King was sin binned.
It opened the floodgates as the Rabbitohs scored three times in the 10 minute period and took an 18-6 lead into the break.
Cook scored twice, teating the heart out of the Bulldogs, before scoring his third with 15 minutes left in the second half.
And when it rains in the NRL, it pours.
Local Canterbury junior Chris Patolo found it out first hand, ending his first start for the Bulldogs concussed after a heavy head clash with Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson.
Patolo was left laying on the ground while Jackson immediately started bleeding from the head, somehow making the tackle on Cameron Murray.
Both men went in for a tackle on either side of Murray, meeting in the middle with their foreheads.
“Jackson’s got a horrible cut on his head, they may lose two players here,” Fox League’s Steve Roach said.
Dan Ginnane added that: “If he (Jackson) wasn’t bleeding, you wouldn’t know he was involved in that.”
And then the Bulldogs lock turned around, revealing his face was covered in blood.
“Oh my goodness,” Ginnane said. “Geez we’ve had some bleeders in this game.”
But the big concern was for Patolo who laid on the ground while being treated by the doctors and trainers.
While clearly dazed, Patolo did need the medicab to get off the field, while Jackson has some running repairs, returning with a headgear in the second half.
But even in the post-match press conference, the cut on Jackson’s head started to open up again, although the Bulldogs lock forward simply sat there unfazed by it.
On Channel 9, Bulldogs football boss Phil Gould said it was the reason why tackling low is not a solution to head knocks.
“For all the experts that say the solution to high tackles is for everyone to tackle low, here’s an example of why tackle techniques are taught the way they are,” he said.
“Here’s two players doing what the textbook says and both end up in trouble.
“That’s why players are taught to tackle standing up. It’s a smaller margin for error but it’s safer for the man making the tackle. You keep inflicting rules on these players, it makes it harder and harder to play the game.”
It was just the bad news the Bulldogs didn’t need after starting the match so brightly against the Rabbitohs.
To make matters worse, at halftime, Braidon Burns was ruled out of the match, seeing a backline shuffle with Matt Burton moving to the centres, Brandon Wakeham moving to five-eighth and Jake Averillo switching sides at centre.
Illawarra Mercury sports editor Tim Barrow tweeted: “Say what you like about the Tigers, there’s no team in the comp who can absolutely butcher a brilliant start like the Dogs. Woof.”