Matt Attard reviews the Sea Eagles’ tight win over the Bulldogs at 4 Pines Park …
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 13
Tries: Tom Trbojevic (17), Reuben Garrick (39)
Goals: Reuben Garrick 2 (17, 39)
Field Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans 1 (76)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
Tries: Brandon Wakeham (0), Braidon Burns (14)
Goals: Matt Burton 2 (33 – pen, 71 – pen)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Canterbury’s halfback Jake Averillo and winger Jayden Okunbor were both relegated before kick off while Manly demoted second rower Ethan Bullermor to the bench.
It was a special day for Manly but the conditions were shocking, with torrential rain greeting the players. It didn’t help Manly’s cause early either, with a spilled ball landing in Brandon Wakeham’s hands for a try within one minute. Matt Burton was unable to convert.
The Bulldogs were impressive early, showing glimpses in attack but were looking shady in defence, especially on the flanks with a compressed defence welcoming the home side into territory.
They dug in however, reaping the rewards of their expansive play with a Matt Dufty grubber bouncing up perfectly for winger Braidon Burns. Burton again missed the conversion from out wide before adding a penalty goal later in the half.
Manly were happy to play expansive football again and this time caught the up-and-in Bulldogs defence out, with Reuben Garrick finding space and then eventually Tom Trbojevic for a simple try. Garrick converted to close the gap to four.
On the stroke of halftime the Eagles struck wide again with Garrick finding a clear run to the line. The conversion was a beauty and the home side took a 12-10 lead into halftime.
HALF-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 12 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 10Embed from Getty Images
The rain eased, but not for long, as the heavens opened not long into the second half. It proved costly for both sides but especially the Bulldogs, who couldn’t help but drop the ball and put themselves under pressure.
To their credit they defended well, as they were under the pump for much of the half. Manly crossed but The Bunker ruled a knock on before grounding, which was the most action of the half until a penalty goal to the Bulldogs levelled the scores with nine minutes remaining.
Daly Cherry-Evans had a field goal charged down with five minutes to play. The Bulldogs, however, continued to make it hard on themselves, turning the ball over and presenting a big chance for Manly.
Cherry-Evans didn’t need another invitation, this time slotting the field goal for a 13-12 lead with three minutes on the clock.
Whilst the Bulldogs had a couple of further opportunities with the ball they never looked like scoring in trying conditions. Burton attempted a two-point field goal to no avail as Manly hung on for a tough one-point victory.
FULL-TIME: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 13 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles), 2 pts – Kieran Foran (Sea Eagles), 1 pt – Matt Dufty (Bulldogs)
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