Manly Warringah Sea Eagles suffered a heart breaking Golden Point 20-16 loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium tonight.
Sitting in 11th position on 20 points heading into Round 23 of the Telstra Premiership, the Sea Eagles needed to beat the fourth placed Bulldogs to keep their finals hopes alive with three rounds remaining.
The Sea Eagles got off to a perfect start when half-back Daly Cherry-Evans put up a bomb on the last tackle, followed it through to outleap Will Hopoate to take ball to score. Jamie Lyon converted for a 6-0 lead after five minutes.
Manly were denied a try in the 13th minute when the Bunker overruled a decision by the referee of a try to Jake Trbojevic from a grubber kick by brother, Tom, on the last tackle.
The Bulldogs opened their account when winger Brett Morris scored after a pass from Will Hopoate hit the head of centre Josh Morris and went forward. Moses Mbye converted for a 6-all scoreline after 24 minutes.
The home side went to a 10-6 lead in the 28th minute when Brett Morris beat three defenders to score near the posts. Mbye converted for a 12-6 lead.
Just like they did in the first half, Manly started the second half well with a try to winger Matthew Wright from a break by Lyon for a 12-10 scoreline after 44 minutes.
The Bulldogs went to a 16-10 lead when winger Sam Perrett dived over in the right corner in the 58th minute.
Manly drew level five minutes later when Nathan Green knocked back a crossfield kick by Cherry-Evans for winger Jorge Taufua to score. Lyon converted the try for the 16-all scoreline.
Lyon attempted a field goal in the 75th minute but missed from 20 metres out.
Both sides were still locked at 16-all at the end of the first half after having three field goal attempts each.
With just over a minute to go, a grubber kick by Sam Perrett saw the ball bounce in between the legs of a charging Tom Trbojevic for Reynolds to swoop on the ball to score for the 20-16 victory.
Earloer tonight, Manly lost 56-0 to the Bulldogs in the Holden Cup.
The Sea Eagles return home to Brookvale Oval next Saturday, August 20, to play Melbourne Storm at 5.30pm.