Fulltime score: Round 10 Bulldogs 10 v Sea Eagles 18
Match summary: The Manly Sea Eagles have run out 18-10 winners over the Canterbury Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium this evening.
The Bulldogs were first to score through Hazem El Masri but Manly hit back with two quick tries before a Brent Sherwin bomb again found Hazem El Masri out wide to narrow the gap to 12-10 leading into half time but a try in the corner to Chris Hicks five minutes before the break gave the Sea Eagles an eight point buffer at half time and it proved to be enough to get Manly home in a low scoring but entertaining match.
A highlight of the game was the goal kicking of Michael Witt who outshone his counterpart in Hazem El Masri.
There can be no denying the effort of the Bulldogs side but the lack of class at crucial times certainly worked against any late rally they tried to stage. Both Braith Anasta and Brent Sherwin both had poor games by their usual high standards but it was more a case of trying too hard than not trying at all with their usually lethal kicking game coming up short tonight.
Having said that, Manly played a disciplined game and shut down Anasta and Sherwin all night with a great counter attacking game plan against the Bulldogs kicking game. As usual, Steve Menzies had a mighty game and was well supported by Brett Stewart and Michael Monaghan who both played pivotal roles in the Sea Eagles victory that sees Manly currently occupying first spot on the NRL ladder pending results of other matches.
Scorers: CANTERBURY BULLDOGS 10 Tries: El Masri 2 Goals: El Masri 1/2
MANLY SEA EAGLES 18 Tries: Stewart, Dunley, Hicks Goals: Witt 3/3
Telstra Stadium Crowd: 14,768 Referee: Sean Hampstead Half time: Sea Eagles 18-10
Live commentary: 1st min: Kickoff! We are underway at Telstra and surprisingly, no Bulldogs players were injured in the warmup.
5th min: Manly come close to the line but come up short with a knock on but they are looking very dangerous with the ball early on.
12th min: A very fiery encounter unfolding here with both sides playing with plenty of aggression but neither side has managed to cross the line so far.
17th min: Matt Utai drops the ball over the line as he was slamming it down in his trademark style and has cost his team six points.
21st min: TRY - Bulldogs. Hazem El Masri opens the Bulldogs account after some great leg work from Roy Asotasi. Conversion successful. Bulldogs 6-0.
25th min: TRY - Manly. Brett Stewart hit the accelerator and blew Luke Patten away with consumate ease to score the Sea Eagles first try under the sticks. Conversion successful. 6 all.
28th min: TRY - Manly. Shayne Dunley barges over from dummy half as the Sea Eagles start to turn it on against a tiring Dogs side. Conversion successful. Manly 12-6.
32nd min: TRY - Bulldogs. Hazem El Masri scores off a Brent Sherwin bomb to level the scores just eight minutes out from half time. Conversion successful. 12-10 Manly.
35th min: TRY - Manly. Chris Hicks scores in the corner on the end of a Terry Hill inside flick pass. A big blow to the Dogs leading into half time. Conversion successful. Manly 18-10.
HALF TIME: Manly hold a comfortable eight point lead but the Dogs are by no means out of the match and have showed some glimpses of what they are capable of so write them off at your peril.
41st min: We are underway in the second half.
50th min: A very open match with Manly enjoying the better off possession early in the second half but the Dogs are still in there plugging away.
57th min: Not much happening as both sides start to make fatigue related errors. The Dogs will need to dig deep if they are to get out of this one.
67th min: Braith Anasta has gone down with cramp as the Dogs start playing against another foe, the clock. Time is running out.
78th min: Possible try to the Dogs as the video ref is asked to rule on a knock on that could see the Dogs have one final crack at the Sea Eagles. No try has just come through so the Dogs are gone.
FULL TIME: Manly have run out winners in a very tough game against a depleted but determined Bulldogs side at Telstra Stadium this evening. The Dogs now find themselves a long way off the pace and Manly currently occupy first place on the NRL ladder leading into the other matches in round ten. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Menzies (Sea Eagles) 2 - B Stewart (Sea Eagles) 1 - H El Masri (Bulldogs) -----------------------------------------