Bulldogs stun Manly at Brookvale
Canterbury finished their disappointing NRL season on a hig note on Sunday, stunning Manly 30-24 in a thrilling encounter at Brookvale Oval.
The result put a dent in the Sea Eagles’ finals hopes in a game that saw co-captain Jason King, centre Steve Matai and Chris Bailey all placed on report.
King and Bailey were penalised for high shots on Andrew Ryan and Chris Armit, with Matai lucky to remain on the field after a sickening late shot on Michael Ennis that forced the NSW hooker off the field early in the second half.
Early second-half tries from Ben Barba, who ran 65 metres to score, and Josh Morris stretched the Bulldogs’ 18-16 halftime advantage to 28-16 to stun the home crowd of 15,933.
Matai’s shot on Ennis infuriated the Bulldogs but swung the momentum towards the hosts, with Matai adding insult to injury with a 53rd-minute try, shortly after Ennis left the field to cut the deficit.
Jamie Lyon then went over in the 65th minute, but missed the conversion, as Des Hasler’s Manly side battered the Bulldogs’ line only to be let down by some poor passing and handing as Kevin Moore’s side hung on.
A penalty from Bryson Goodwin eight minutes from time proved to the match-winning score, but Manly were denied a try and golden point in the dying seconds when Luke Patten in his final game for the Bulldogs, crash-tackled Michael Robinson in the corner.
A topsy-turvy opening half saw the lead change hands on no fewer than five occasions.
Matai opened the scoring for Manly in the eighth minute, before the Bulldogs hit back in the 17th minute when Ennis did well out of dummy-half to hit Ryan Tandy with a sharp pass and the prop dived underneath the posts.
With defence very much at a premium from both sides, they exchanged quick tries with Manly fullback Ben Farrar showing great composure to score one-handed in the left corner.
Moore’s men hit back when backrower Brad Morrin darted over in the 18th minute, avoiding an end of season nude run with his first try of the season after being teed up by the retiring Brett Kimmorley in his final game.
Bailey restored Manly’s lead with his second four-pointer of the season before Ryan marked an ever-present season with a try on the stroke of halftime.
Goodwin finished the game with a personal haul of 10 points with the boot.© AAP 2013
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