Ennis the menace gets Bulldogs home
Serial pest Michael Ennis got under South Sydney’s skin and all over the scoreboard to lead the Bulldogs to a 14-12 win on Monday night.
Ennis was in the thick of everything – both good and bad – on a miserable wet night at ANZ Stadium, the crafty No.9 laying on both first half tries and booting a crucial penalty goal midway through the second period to deliver the Bunnies just their second loss of the season.
The Bunnies threatened to steal the game when John Sutton grubbered for Eddy Pettybourne to score with six minutes remaining, but when Craig Wing’s kick rolled over the sideline with the siren blaring, the visitors charge had come to an end.
It didn’t look like being Ennis’ night when his kick-off sailed over the dead-ball line to hand the Bunnies an early opportunity which they turned into a second minute try, but he more than made amends as he tormented the Rabbitohs for the remaining 78 minutes.
It wasn’t just his dummy half play which frustrated the Bunnies either, Ennis niggling antics around the ruck earning the ire of opposition players and the referees who gave the former Bronco several warnings on the run.
South Sydney failed to heed the warning with Ennis making up for the error which gifted Beau Champion a early four-pointer when he kicked for Josh Morris to touch down just inside the dead ball line to lock it up at 6-all after 21 minutes.
Three minutes later and the Bulldogs were out by a converted try when Ennis put Andrew Ryan through a yawning gap created by a bad defensive read from Souths halfback Chris Sandow, the play overshadowed by a scuffle after the try.
The incident was ignited by an altercation between Ryan and Issac Luke – who the Bulldogs skipper ran over in scoring the try – before escalating when Ben and Jaiman Lowe, and of course Ennis, also got involved.
Luke was put on report over the incident, but the Rabbitohs failed to show as much fight on the scoreboard with their their endeavours cruelled by a litany of errors with the ball.
With Hazem El Masri sitting on the interchange bench, Ennis kicked a 38 metre penalty goal to extend the Bulldogs lead to eight points, before he nearly capped a great game with a try only to be held up 14 minutes from time.
Bulldogs coach Kevin Moore credited his side’s defence as the difference between the two sides, but he also saved special mention for his busy hooker.
“He’s been outstanding for us, all the way through the first five rounds of the comp,” Moore said.
“His combination with Brett Kimmorley is growing day by day. We’ve done a fair bit of work the last few weeks on our attack and tonight we showed some improvement.”
Souths coach Jason Taylor appeared far from dejected, claiming the loss in difficult conditions was all part of the learning curve for his young side.
“We’ve got an enormous amount of improvement in us and we had similar issues tonight that we had a few weeks ago against Parramatta where we just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” Taylor said.
“We’re not finishing our sets off well enough at times … we had enough ball in the first half to score more points and we didn’t do that.”
Skipper Roy Asotasi failed to share Taylor’s glass half full approach.
“… In the end I just think we lost that game because of ourselves, because of the mistakes,” he said.
“I think we just frustrated the hell out of ourselves.”© AAP 2013