Canterbury Bulldogs 23
Tries: James Graham, Krisnan Inu, Corey Thompson, Michael Ennis
Goals: Krisnan Inu 3
Field Goals: Michael Ennis
Manly Sea Eagles 16
Tries: Dunamis Lui, Clint Gutherson, Justin Horo
Goals: Jamie Lyon
Field Goals: nil
A disappointing crowd of 14921 turned up to cavernous ANZ Stadium to see the Bulldogs register an unlikely win over the Sea Eagles 23-16.
The first stanza of the game saw both teams settling in and taking few risks. The first chance of the game came from Sam Kasiano who charged for the corner as the Manly defence inexplicably backed away from the giant front rower, he did his best to slide over the corner but couldn’t tuck in a flailing arm and was ruled to be out before getting over the line.
Manly then had their first shot at the Bulldogs line following a shoulder charge penalty, Dunamis Lui was able to charge through a sizeable gap close to the line and crash over for his maiden try in the maroon and white.
The Bulldogs hit back a short time later through a very similar try to James Graham to lock the scores up at 6-all.
Just before half time Krisnan Inu busted his way through a Peta Hiku tackle attempt and then some flimsy grabs by Jack Littlejohn and Tom Symonds to score the Bulldogs second try. He was able to convert and they went into half time leading 12-6.
Shortly after half time Manly were able to take advantage of a Mitch Brown error and put Clinton Gutherson over in the corner, making it two tries from two matches for the 19 year old.
The Bulldogs made their way up field thanks to a questionable penalty drawn by Mitch Brown against Brenton Lawrence. Some miscommunication between Brett Stewart and Gutherson and a touch of good luck saw the Bulldogs cross the line again through Corey Thompson. Krisnan Inu failed to make the conversion and the Bulldogs led 16-10 with around 25 minutes left in the match.
A Mitch Brown error again led to a Manly try as Justin Horo was somehow able to hold onto a dropped bomb and fall over the line next to the posts. Jamie Lyon was able to nail the easy conversion.
With the sides once again deadlocked Canterbury lifted their intensity and took over the game, they charged up the middle of the field at will and defended strongly and aggressively against a Manly side who looked quite lost without Daly Cherry-Evans on the paddock to direct them around. The Bulldogs failed in their first attempt at field goal but were successful on their second attempt through Michael Ennis to take a one point lead.
Manly had chances to level the scoring but Kieran Foran seemed to struggle directing the side into position to plot the field goal, eventually the one attempt they did have was charged down and the ensuing chances ended in errors.
The Bulldogs sealed the game with a very dubious try to Michael Ennis, the on field officials missed a blatant forward pass and then the video referee either forgot, or disregarded, the NRL rulebook regarding the “down town” rule. As a result the Sea Eagles were denied the opportunity to try and snatch a last gasp victory from the jaws of defeat.
This is now the third game this season where Manly has come up against lesser qualified opposition with a point to prove, the other two being against the Tigers and Broncos. In all three games they have shown up flat and disjointed in both phases of the game. It’s a trait that must frustrate Geoff Toovey to no end and is something that needs to be rectified if they are to maintain a top 2 ladder position and the advantages that go with it.