Morris stars as Dogs thrash Broncos

By James MacSmith
AAP
Morris stars as Dogs thrash Broncos

Brett Morris has scored three tries in his return from an extended layoff due to a knee injury as Canterbury thrashed Brisbane 40-14 in round 16 of the NRL.

In his first match after suffering the pre-season injury, Morris scored three second-half tries as the Bulldogs turned a 10-4 halftime lead into a comprehensive 26-point victory at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night in front of 15,106 fans.

Morris scored in the 45th, 58th and 70th minutes in an super-impressive performance that could have him in the frame for NSW in State of Origin III.

The home side also added second-half tries to David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano, who scored two tries, in one of the Bulldogs' best wins of the season.

James Roberts and Anthony Milford claimed second-half tries for the Broncos, who are in the middle of an Origin period slump.

Brisbane, who had Corey Oates, Matt Gillett, Darius Boyd, Josh McGuire and Corey Parker backing up from Wednesday's Origin II and were missing the suspended Sam Thaiday, have won just two of their past seven matches after winning eight from nine to start the year.

The Dogs have won five of their past six to launch a genuine challenge for a top-four spot.

The Dogs outscored Brisbane two tries to one in a bruising first half.

A Boyd pass put Oates over in the 22nd minute for the game's first try.

Seven minutes later, the resurgent Tony Williams crashed through the Broncos' line from a Moses Mbye pass for a converted try.

Just before halftime, Kasiano bounced out of dummy-half and over the three Brisbane defenders to score one of the season's more unusual tries for the Dogs to lead 10-4 at the break.

Brisbane NRL debutant Tom Opacic left the field with a foot injury in the 22nd minute and didn't return.

Gillett left the field midway through the second half with an eye injury and didn't return.

Corey Parker played his 337th NRL game to supersede Brad Fittler at fourth on the list of most first-grade games.

Brisbane's Wayne Bennett coached his 750th first-grade game.

NSW stars David Klemmer and Josh Jackson backed up for the Bulldogs.

Dogs coach Des Hasler said the match wasn't a true reflection of where both sides were at.

"You can't read too much into that with both sides coming off Origin," he said.

"For us tonight was about staying in touch with the top four."

Hasler said Morris was a standout.

"He brings a lot of quality to this team through his unbelievable try-scoring," Hasler said.

"He knows his way to the tryline.

Bennett knows his side has to weather the Origin period.

"It obviously doesn't help, but that is no excuse," he said.

"It was disappointing. It wasn't my Origin guys (that played badly), there were another 12 players that didn't play Origin.

"But Canterbury were good tonight. They got the momentum and that is what it is all about."

Bennett said Opacic would miss up to six weeks due to his foot injury. But Gillett would be right for Friday's clash with Melbourne.

The Bulldogs next meet Sydney Roosters on Thursday.