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NRL Finals Match Review: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 17 Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 18

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 17
Tries: Jayden Hodges, Brett Stewart, Cheyse Blair
Goals:Jamie Lyon 2/3
Field Goals:Daly Cherry-Evans

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldosgs 18
Tries:Mitch Brown, Corey Thompson, Sam Perrett
Goals:Trent Hodkinson 1/2, Tim Lafai 1/1
Field Goals:Trent Hodkinson 2

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have booked a Preliminary Final showdown with the Penrith Panthers following an edge-of-the-seat 18-17 golden-point victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Allianz Stadium tonight.

Both sides had a player sent to the sin-bin, and it took an 84th-minute Trent Hodkinson field goal to find a winner in a classic game of rugby league.

In front of a crowd of 28,186, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-0 lead inside the opening 20 minutes before the Sea Eagles fought back in the second half to draw level with 10 minutes left.

Hodkinson’s 75th minute field goal was matched by Sea Eagles half back Daly-Cherry-Evans in the 79th minute before Hodkinson’s 84th-minute effort secured the match for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs dominated the first half, and scored first through Mitch Brown after 10 minutes. They made it 10-0 after 14 minutes when their other winger, Corey Thompson scored in the right corner.

Hodkinson was forced from the field with a left knee complaint but the Bulldogs continued to dominate and added a third try through fullback Sam Perrett. Tim Lafai converted from in front to make it 16-0 after 20 minutes.

Sea Eagles prop Josh Starling was sin binned in the 24th minute for throwing a punch but the Bulldogs weren’t able to take advantage.

In the 40th minute the Sea Eagles finally got on the board when hooker Jayden Hodges caught everyone by surprise with a nice individual try beside the posts. Lyon converted and the Bulldogs led 16-6 at half time.

The first 25 minutes of the second half became a war of attrition with neither side able to gain control of the match. The return of Hodkinson did little for the Bulldogs who were slowly letting the Sea Eagles back into the match.

In the 65th minute a great individual try to Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart made it 16-12 before a bizarre 71st minute try to Sea Eagles winger Cheyse Blair made it 16-all after Lyon failed with the conversion attempt from out wide.

Cherry-Evans put a grubber kick through which was spilt by Ennis and the ball bounced around in the in-goal to be pounced upon by Blair.

Both teams came together as Blair scored the try, and in the aftermath, Bulldogs interchange Reni Maitua was sin binned for throwing a punch.

Hodkinson calmly slotted a field goal in the 75th minute to put his side in front 17-16 but the Sea Eagles hit back when Daly Cherry-Evans kicked a field goal with a minute left on the clock to force the game into extra time.

Maitua returned to the field early in the extra time period as both sides looked to win the match via a field goal. Stewart’s attempt sprayed to the right of the uprights, before Hodkinson kicked his second field goal of the match in the 84th minute.

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