The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have completed the double over the Sea Eagles tonight with a strong performance at ANZ Stadium.
Both sides were looking to improve on the respective losses last week and it started fantastically for the Bulldogs.
Front rower Willie Mason’s dropped his first carry giving the Bulldogs the perfect field position and from the resulting scrum the dogs swift play drew the Manly players in and the half back Trent Hodkinson fed a cut out pass to winger Curtis Rona for the first try.
The Bulldogs were first to be awarded a penalty and they didn’t waste the opportunity, Chase Stanley crossing for his first try of the season when he had too much pace for Matai and his dummy fooled Cheyse Blair, which allowed the young centre to comfortably score in the corner.
Hodkinson slotted his first conversion after he missed his first attempt, which took the lead out to 10-0.
It didn’t get much better for the Northern Beaches side who just couldn’t make it stick with simple errors costing them valuable time and metres.
The Bulldogs continue to gain easy metres up the middle and they could have gone further in front when Aiden Tolman crashed over. But after a video referee reviewed it, it was ruled that the barnstorming forward was unable to ground the football.
Manly slowly worked their way into the game but were still unable to breakdown a resilient Bulldogs defence that were quelling all Manly attacks.
Manly finally got their breakthrough try and came through none other than star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. The Sea Eagles playmaker received a slice of luck after his grubber kick ricochet of a Bulldogs play back into his arms allowing him to score under the posts.
The Bulldogs continued to test the Eagles with wave after wave of attack but were unable to apply the finishing touch themselves.
In the end it was the Sea Eagles who enjoyed some much needed points when Cherry-Evans was impeded when chasing an infield chip kick from Lyon. The skipper opted for the two points and the Silvertails reduced the deficit to two, sending both teams back into the tunnel with score at 10-8 to the Bulldogs.
The second half started with a reduced error count with both sides playing it safe in the opening exchanges.
This time around however, it was Manly that got the first try of the half when they got a penalty from a high shot on Justin Horo. Peta Hiku capped off a swift backline play before he took on defenders and found his way into the corner. Unfortunately Lyon’s conversion was missed and the Sea Eagles took a two-point lead.
The Bulldogs were quick to respond to Manly’s try with one of their own. Falling asleep when ball was ruled to go backwards from a Bulldogs drop ball. Manly were short on numbers down the short side and Frank Pritchard too full advantage. Storming out of dummy half unmarked, Pritichard gave the ball to his centre Moses Mbye and the utility player had too much pace for the chasing Sea Eagles and when faced with the fullback he passed back inside for the man who started it all, Pritchard, who strolled to the try line to retake the lead for his side.
The try turned out to be a real sucker punch for the Sea Eagles who gave away a penalty to give the Canterbury side a chance to extend their lead. Once again Mbye was at the centre of the play as his flick pass back inside found Rona who scored his second of the night.
The Bulldogs then put two converted tries distance between them when they broke away with the ball after a failed Manly attack. Curtis Rona picked up the ball and raced down the field before offloading it to Josh Jackson who continued the run. The second rower showed good pace to dissect the winger and the centre and then gave the ball to Mbye who despite the efforts of Cherry-Evans managed to get himself over the line.
The game saw a moment of magic when Jamie Lyon’s towering bomb came flying back of the crossbar of the posts and back straight into the hands of the skipper. He then flicked ball out to Horo who got the ball away to Steve Matai who gave the Sea Eagles a sniff. The Captain however, was unable to make the kick and the Bulldogs led by eight.
The game was put beyond doubt when Corey Thompson managed to squeeze into the corner to give the Bulldogs another four pointer.
The Sea Eagles tried to grab another try but the Bulldogs quelled their efforts.
The score ended up 28-16 in another blow to the Sea Eagles.