The Sea eagles have claimed their biggest scalp of the season, defeating competition leaders Canterbury at Brookvale Oval on Friday night.
On a wet and muddy night in Brookvale, the Sea Eagles scored five tries to two in an impressive attacking display in slippery conditions from Geoff Toovey’s men.
Fullback Brett Stewart bagged a double as he helped his side move back into second on the competition ladder at the half way mark of the season.
The comprehensive 32-10 victory could come at a cost though, with star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans succumbing to a troublesome left knee sustained in last Wednesday’s Origin opener.
Captain Jamie Lyon also left the field late in the match with a hamstring strain.
The two sides went punch for punch inside the opening quarter hour as they went set for set. But after a penalty awarded against Manly’s Cherry-Evans helped the Bulldogs march up field, Canterbury made their opposition pay from the ensuing set.
Winger Mitch Brown the beneficiary of some quick hands from centre Tim Lafai as he gave his side first points in the 17th minute.
Manly appeared to be struggling as the Bulldogs began to build some serious momentum. But it took a piece of Cherry-Evans magic to spark the Sea Eagles into life, kicking ahead twice to re-gather and put centre Steve Matai over for his 10th try of the season.
The home side then struck another blow on their opposition just five minutes later, with forward Jesse Sene Lefao ducking under the Bulldogs defence to plant the ball down for his first try in the top-grade.
The Sea Eagles No.7 then put the explanation mark on a red-hot period for the Sea Eagles, putting captain Jamie Lyon in the clear for the centre to hand it off to his winger Peta in a red-hot eight minutes for the home side.
After taking an early lead, the Bulldogs found themselves down by two converted tries at the break, and Manly’s lead only grew four minutes into the second half as Lyon booted them 14-points clear with penalty goal from in front.
Fullback Brett Stewart then chased through a Kieran Foran grubber as he booted the ball forward to dive on the ball centimeters before the deadfall line.
Leading by 20, the Sea Eagles conceded a soft try when the ball beat everybody in the air to land in the hands of Chase Stanley who reduced the margin.
But it was nothing but a hiccup for Manly as Stewart grabbed his second of the night, chasing Foran’s bomb, to secure the 22-point victory.