Manly Warringah Sea Eagles held off a late challenge from the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to claim a 14-10 win in the Harold Matthews Cup at Lottoland today.
In a thrilling finish, the Bulldogs had two late shots inside the final minute at the Sea Eagles to snatch a draw or win but the Manly defence withstood the pressure to secure the two competition points.
The Sea Eagles remain undefeated in four matches.
Manly opened the scoring in the fourth minute when talented five-eighth Latu Fainu found some open space to race 60 metres to score in the corner. Hooker Ollie Cummins failed to convert the try for a 4-0 lead.
The Bulldogs were camped inside Manly’s quarter for four consecutive sets late in the first half but the Sea Eagles defence stood firm to keep the visitors out.
The Sea Eagles then blew a certain try after a great offload by centre Eli Sagala saw winger Revelation Sio fly down the left flank to beat three defenders to offload to second-rower Dylan Coutts who dropped the ball 10 metres out from the line.
Manly were denied a try to centre Josh Feledy on a forward pass call from the touch judge two minutes out from half-time.
The Sea Eagles scored a sensational try after the half-time siren when Sio swooped on a crossfield kick to score in the corner after the ball travelled through several hands. Cummins failed to convert the try from out wide for an 8-0- lead at the break.
The Bulldogs got on the board two minutes after half-time when prop Shaquille Tavita scored from a suspect pass by Lajuan Vito after the second-rower regathered from a kick. Jonathan Su’a converted for an 8-6 scoreline.
Canterbury took a 10-8 lead when forward Junior Taupau crashed over out wide seven minutes later. The try was not converted.
A well-timed held up pass from Fainu saw prop Samuela Fainu dive over to score near the posts. Half-back Alfred Ah Chong converted the try to give Manly a 14-10 lead with five minutes.
The Bulldogs threw plenty at the Sea Eagles in the dying minutes but the home side dug deep to claim victory.