Matt Attard reviews Canterbury-Bankstown’s one-point win over Manly Warringah …
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 21
Tries: Braidon Burns (28), Zach Dockar-Clay (36), Aaron Schoupp (49), Kyle Flanagan (75)
Goals: Matt Burton 2 (29, 38)
One-Point Field Goals: Matt Burton (78)
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 20
Tries: Daly Cherry-Evans (4), Christian Tuipulotu (12), Martin Taupau (17), Haumole Olakau’atu (63)
Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans 2 (5, 18)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been booted to victory by star half Matt Burton in a wet and wild clash with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.
After racing out to a quick lead, Manly looked certain to run away with it until the Bulldogs dug deep to fight their way to victory.
Rain fell to begin what would be Kieran Foran, Dylan Walker, Paul Vaughan, Jeremy Marshall-King and several others’ last game for their respective clubs. The Bulldogs were celebrating milestone achievements for Josh Addo-Carr (150 games), Marshall-King (100), and Ray Faitala-Mariner (100).
The Bulldogs threw the ball around early, making their intentions clear after failing to score a point last week. Manly prop Toafofoa Sipley highlighted a massive problem at the Bulldogs – their defence – as he easily strolled through and set up Daly Cherry-Evans for the first try of the game. He converted his own try from in front of the posts.
Christian Tuipulotu was the next to scroll over untouched, making his way into the corner after a great ball from Cherry-Evans, who was unable to convert from the sideline.
Next on the list was another departing Sea Eagle, Martin Taupau, who crashed over from close range after several repeat sets. Cherry-Evans converted for a 16-0 lead after 19 minutes.
After defending eight straight sets, the home side finally got their hands on the ball, but their attack was as disappointing as their defence.
There even appeared to be some disagreements among playmakers after several sets attacking Manly’s line with no result. Addo-Carr did cross but went in to touch before grounding the ball.
After many unsuccessful attempts the Bulldogs finally crossed thanks to 100 game-man Faitala-Mariner, whose run and offload set up a try for Braidon Burns. Matt Burton converted from out wide as monsoonal rain set in.
As the momentum swung it was the Bulldogs looking dangerous. At 27 years old, interchange dummy-half Zack Docker-Clay darted from dummy half for his first NRL try. Burton converted to bring the score to 16-12 at halftime.
Both sides traded errors in the opening stages of the second half before back-to-back penalties presented Manly youngster Kaeo Weekes with a chance, but he lost control on the goal-line.
Moments later Bulldogs centre Aaron Schoupp pounced to intercept and raced 80 metres to the tryline, levelling the scores. Burton’s wide conversion was waved away, leaving the scores locked at 16-all.
Both teams traded sets without much danger, until a crucial error from Corey Waddell gifted Manly a golden chance, giving momentum back to the visitors.
A repeat set was followed up with a slick Cherry-Evans grubber that was pounced on by Haumole Olakau’atu. The halfback missed his conversion attempt and scores remained for a 20-16 but Manly were now well in control.
As Manly continued to pepper the Bulldogs for the next 10 minutes, it was a piece of Tevita Pangai Junior brilliance that gifted a try to Kyle Flanagan. A bouncing bomb fell into Pangai Junior’s hands, who stepped and offloaded almost from the ground to his supporting halfback.
With just four minutes remaining Burton stepped up to try and take the lead with the conversion. It sailed well wide under pressure and the scores remained level at 20-all.
He more than made up for the missed conversion moments later, as one of his remarkable bombs was spilled by Manly fullback Weekes. Burton then stepped up to the plate to nail a field goal and take a 21-20 lead, snaring a victory to end the season on a high.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Tevita Pangai Junior (Bulldogs), 2 pts – Max King (Bulldogs), 1 pt – Ray Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs)
Follow Nothing But League on Facebook.