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2021 NRL Round 24, Sea Eagles 36 Bulldogs 18 – Report

Brendan Wood reviews the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 36-18 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Sea Eagles 36

Tries: Jason Saab (9, 80) Haumole Olakau’atu (35) Tom Trbojevic (45, 67, 74)

Goals: Reuben Garrick (36, 46, 62, 75, 80)

Bulldogs 18

Tries: Matt Doorey (27), Jayden Okunbor (30) Jackson Topine (76)

Goals: Kyle Flanagan (28, 31, 76)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Tom Trbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
2 pts – Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
1 pt – Kieran Foran (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

With Manly in pursuit of a top four finish, it didn’t take them long to score points. After about 10 minutes of back and forth play between the two sides, Manly got an overlap on the right and Jason Saab grabbed the first try.

Despite having the better of the field position, Manly’s ball security was poor which allowed the Bulldogs to hang in on the scoreboard. With opportunities attacking Manly’s line, the Bulldogs couldn’t execute well enough to turn those into points.

Eventually, Tom Trbojevic looked to have stamped his authority on the game when he threw a cut-out pass for Jason Saab to score again. However, the bunker reviewed the put down and discovered Saab had lost the ball.

After being let off the hook, the Bulldogs got an opportunity off a Manly error and grabbed the lead. Sione Katoa scooped up the ball off a scrum and passed back inside for Matt Doorey to slice open the defense and score.

In the following set, the Bulldogs made another break when Brandon Wakeham split the defense. They spread the ball to the right and had Manly shot for numbers – Jayden Okunbor stepped back inside to score their second try in five minutes.

With Manly stunned by two quick tries, they found a response when Daly Cherry-Evans forced a line drop-out. Off the back of his effort, the Bulldogs couldn’t hold Haumole Olakau’atu out as he found space and strolled over to score.

The Bulldogs suffered a blow on the stroke of halftime when Matt Doorey succumbed to a serious knee injury. Despite the loss of Doorey, the Bulldogs went into the break clinging to a two-point lead.

HALF-TIME: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10 – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12

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2nd Half

Daly Cherry-Evans forced an early line drop-out as they looked to take back the lead straight after halftime. The Bulldogs gave away several set restarts for infringements but their defense held firm.

Eventually, the pressure was too much for them to handle as Kieran Foran put Tom Trbojevic through a gap to score. There was some controversy in the decision as the replay suggested Trbojevic bobbled the ball trying to ground it, but the bunker confirmed the try.

On the next kick-off, tempers flared when Josh Aloiai lashed out with his foot in a tackle and contacted Josh Jackson’s head. After the dust settled, the bunked deemed the contact was dangerous and Aloiai was controversially sent to the sin-bin.

Despite having the man advantage, the Bulldogs were unable to make Manly pay and the score didn’t change with Aloiai off the field.

There was another controversial call, this time going against the Bulldogs when Joe Stimson was penalised for grabbing the hair of Martin Taupau. Manly opted to take the two points to extend their lead to six.

After falling behind by a converted try, the Bulldogs were their own worst enemy as Nick Meaney spilt a bomb to hand Manly another chance. In the first set following the error Josh Schuster put Tom Trbojevic over for his second try to extend the lead.

Inside the final 10 minutes, the Bulldogs couldn’t stop Trbojevic from scoring his third try to complete his hat-trick. The Bulldogs scored a miraculous try off the subsequent kick-off when a fortuitous bounce landed in the lap of Jackson Topine who scored untouched.

Despite the Topine try, Jason Saab scored a runaway try on the siren to secure an 18-point win for Manly.

FULL-TIME: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 36 – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18

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Injuries

Matt Doorey – knee

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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