The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have advanced to the preliminary finals after downing the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 16-10 at ANZ Stadium in front of 36,420 fans.
Despite the Bulldogs being down 10-6 at half time, they fought back to defeat the 2011 NRL premiers in a gripping match.
Truly against the run of play, Josh Morris displayed his footwork and speed to set up Jonathan Wright for the Bulldogs first points after ten minutes. Manly had dominated possession and field position to this point, but the Bulldogs try and Krisnan Inu's conversion put the home side 6-0 in front early.
Jorge Taufua was key to Manly's strong first half performance. He capitalised on a right side play and dived over in the corner for the visitors' first points. After a review from video referees Steve Clark and Paul Mellor, the try was awarded and Manly had hit back. Daly Cherry-Evans failed to lock the game up, missing his conversion. Bulldogs remained leaders 6-4 after 27 minutes.
It was all Manly in the mid-first half as the Sea Eagles went back-to-back. Big man Tony Williams made up for earlier errors as he guided Brett Stewart into a clearing in the backfield. Stewart raced away to post Manly's second four-pointer. This time Cherry-Evans was successful with the kick to extend the lead to 10-6.
An issue arose for Manly as co-captain Jamie Lyon left the field with an injury to his plantaris (calf muscle). The Bulldogs didn't escape unscathed, their captain Michael Ennis leaving the field with a rib injury. Unlike Lyon, he returned in the second half.
Canterbury Bulldogs 16 defeated Manly Sea Eagles 10
National Rugby League - Finals Week 1 - Friday September 7, 2012 7:45pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Ben Cummins and Ashley Klein
Video Referee: Steve Clark and Paul Mellor
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Russell Turner
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 6 Manly Sea Eagles 10
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Aiden Tolman
2 Points - Josh Morris
1 Point - Sam Kasiano
Canterbury Bulldogs (16)
Tries: Kris Keating, Ben Barba, Jonathan Wright
Field Goals: Ben Barba (0/1)
Conversions: Krisnan Inu (2/3)
Manly Sea Eagles (10)
Tries: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua
Conversions: Daly Cherry-Evans (1/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to League Unlimited's coverage of the first qualifying final LIVE from ANZ Stadium as the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs host the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Neither team will be out of the finals race with a loss tonight. However, the winners will advance through to the third week, while the losers battle for their preliminary finals spot against the winners of the Cowboys v Broncos match.
Both sides are 1-17 with no changes for either team.
Here we go League fans, moments away as Manly exit the tunnel here at ANZ Stadium
1 min: Bulldogs kick off & we are UNDERWAY in the first qualifying final
1 min: Daly Cherry-Evans fires the kick down to end the set, but unluckily for the Bulldogs Ben Barba knocks it on at the death. He is short of the goal line. Manly gets scrum feed 10 metres out.
3 min: Jorge Taufua took the pass of Dean Whare on the near wing but he is forced into touch before getting to the line. The Bulldogs lucky not to concede points, scrum feed to the Bulldogs.
4 min: KNOCK ON! Greg Eastwood has ruled to knocked on despite their being hands in the ruck from Steve Matai. Another chance for Manly with a scrum feed 20 metres from the Bulldogs line.
9 min: TRY
TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Scored by Jonathan Wright. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu successful.
Jonathan Wright has claimed first points for the Bulldogs after Josh Morris busted through the Manly defence to streak away 30 metres to link with Wright. A great play from the Bulldogs to come up with points. Krisnan Inu slot the conversion from next to the posts.
Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
12 min: A mistake from Tony Williams sees the Bulldogs get a set inside their half. Time off for Krisnan Inu, but he gets up moments later with a possible issue as he grabs his head.
13 min: UNFORCED ERROR Canterbury Bulldogs
Sam Perrett contesting the ball as failed to hold onto the Steeden as Jorge Taufau flew through the air to put him off. Scrum feed for Manly on the Bulldogs 10 metre line
15 min: The Bulldogs showing some great defence, Manly put a little grubber kick in goal but it's knocked dead by Brett Stewart. The Bulldogs get a 20 metre restart for their troubles.
17 min: Time off and things are getting heated! Watmough knocked over Reynolds as he attempted to kick. Penalty Bulldogs for the late contact.
18 min: Time here again as Aiden Tolman has been collected by a swinging arm by Jason King. King has been sent out the back with blood from the nose. Penalty is given to the Bulldogs
19 min: Once again the time is called off. Steve Matai has been penalised for a high shot on on Sam Perrett, he is on report as a result. Bulldogs attacking now inside the 10 metre line
20 min: NO TRY! Michael Ennis is penalised for a double movement as a Manly player still had an hand on him as he continued to advance the ball over the line. Manly with a massive touch finder march up to the halfway line.
22 min: UNFORCED ERROR Manly Sea Eagles
Tony Williams again took the ball flat footed and he failed to hold it as he went to ground. The Bulldogs pack a scrum feed on their 20 metre line.
24 min: Manly found space as Jorge Taufau broke free of the line and raced away 50 metres, however Ben Barba covered him over 10 metres from the line. Manly unable to crack the line as Cherry-Evans opted for a short kick to the goal line, and the Bulldogs dived on the ball
25 min: A well place kick from Manly as see them get a repeat set with a line drop out as the Bulldogs take the ball dead.
27 min: VIDEO REFEREE for Manly, Jorge Taufau has crossed. Possibly in touch...as Michael Ennis leaves the field
27 min: TRY
TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Scored by Jorge Taufua. Conversion attempt by Daly Cherry-Evans unsuccessful.
Jorge Taufua is awarded his try as he dived over in the corner as Manly created an overlap on the left wing. Cherry-Evans with the conversion pushed it wide of the posts
Canterbury Bulldogs 6-4
29 min: TRY
TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Scored by Brett Stewart. Conversion attempt by Daly Cherry-Evans successful.
Brett Stewart has scored Manly second try in as many minutes as Tony Williams provided him the pass as he streaked away under the posts. Cherry-Evans from in front extend the lead
Manly Sea Eagles 10-6
30 min: INJURY UPDATE: Jamie Lyon has a calf injury and will not return tonight for Manly. While Michael Ennis has a rib concern and we could see him back out there later on
33 min: Penalty to Manly for Josh Reynolds holding down in the tackle too long. They march up field with a big kick only 30 metres out
34 min: A mistake from Manly sees the Bulldogs escape without conceding points. They pack a scrum on their 10 metre line.
36 min: Daly Cherry-Evans fires the kick down field and it finds the touchline. Bulldogs pack a scrum down on their 10 metre line
38 min: Zero tackle for Manly as they attack inside the Bulldogs 20 metre line...but before the attack could mount Stewart gives up possession as Perrett comes up with the ball
40 min: The Bulldogs unable to crack the goal line before halftime as the kick ended with Jorge Taufau who has been one of the best tonight. SO, HALF TIME at ANZ Stadium sees Manly ahead 10-6 over the Bulldogs.
41 min: We are back UNDERWAY at ANZ Stadium with the Sea Eagles flying over the Bulldogs with a 10-6 lead.
42 min: UNFORCED ERROR Manly Sea Eagles
Dean Whare attempted to bust out of the tackle of two Bulldogs defenders but he dropped it. Bulldogs attacking inside the manly 10 metre line.
43 min: UNFORCED ERROR Canterbury Bulldogs
James Graham unable to take the pass on the last tackle. It wasn't the best 5th tackle option and Manly come up with possession deep in their own half.
45 min: UNFORCED ERROR Manly Sea Eagles
Jason King makes an unforced error as he was cleaned up by James Graham. A few words exchanged between the teams, but it ends with nothing as the scrum packs for the Bulldogs on Manly's 20 metre line.
46 min: VIDEO REFEREE for the Bulldogs…an amazing play from Kris Keating!
48 min: TRY
TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Scored by Kris Keating. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu successful.
The Bulldogs kept the ball alive as the spread it from the wing back to middle field. Kris Keating ended up with the ball he put in a grubber for himself and he dived on the footy! Inu with the kick gave the Dogs the lead
Canterbury Bulldogs 12-10
49 min: UNFORCED ERROR Canterbury Bulldogs
Krisnan Inu makes an unforced error on the second tackle after the kick restart. Manly go on the attack with a chance to hit back with points
50 min: Forward pass ruled against the Bulldogs. Scrum feed Manly and they will attack 20 metre from the goal line.
51 min: Penalty to the Sea Eagles for the Bulldogs holding down in the ruck too long. Time has also been called off with Tony Williams down, looking to be a hyper-extension of the knee.
57 min: TRY
TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Scored by Ben Barba. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu successful.
Josh Morris has another try-assist to his name as he bolted 70 metres downfield to link with Ben Barba to score his 32nd try from 38 games at ANZ Stadium. Josh Morris has been wonderful in open space as he skipped out of three would-be tackles. Krisnan Inu fails to converts to extend the lead.
Canterbury Bulldogs 16-10
58 min: UNFORCED ERROR Canterbury Bulldogs
Frank Pritchard in the tackle from Manly dropped the ball cold and Manly go on the attack again after a kick restart.
58 min: The crowd tonight at ANZ Stadium has been posted at 36,420
60 min: UNFORCED ERROR Manly Sea Eagles
Brett Stewart dropped what was a horrible offload from Taufua. Bulldogs get a scrum feed pack down only 10 metre from the Sea Eagles line.
63 min: VIDEO REFEREE for Ben Barba…this is why he is the player of the year
63 min: NO TRY is the call and a penalty has gone to Manly for an obstruction which saw Cherry-Evans unable to get a shot at Barba.
63 min: Time off here again with both teams coming together. It will be play on without any issue.
64 min: Brett Stewart offloaded to no one back on the inside before going into touch and Sam Perrett dived on it. Bulldogs on the attack inside the Manly half
65 min: Ben Barba fires the kick over the defensive line but it rolls dead. 20 metre restart for the Sea Eagles.
68 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs
Field goal attempt by Ben Barba unsuccessful it sailed away from the upright. He had a mile of time but unable to extend the lead
Canterbury Bulldogs 16-10
70 min: UNFORCED ERROR Canterbury Bulldogs
Josh Reynolds charged onto the kick from Keating but dropped it cold. Manly very unluck he did or it was points for Bulldogs.
71 min: UNFORCED ERROR Manly Sea Eagles
Jorge Taufua makes an unforced error and Ben Barba scooped up the ball but was caught moments later before he could streak away
74 min: A nice take from Brett Stewart in goal sees Manly take the 20 metre tap.
75 min: Steve Matai almost crashing over the line but he was stopped by Aidan Tolman with a great try saving tackle.
76 min: Time off once again Glenn Stewart has come over the top of the tackle on James Graham. NO penalty given, play on the call.
77 min: 40/20 attempted Manly Sea Eagles
Daly Cherry-Evans attempted a kick at 40/20 but it's out on the full. Bulldogs attacking deep in the Manly half..
78 min: Oh no! Ben Barba put a kick in but Matai come up with. Manly attacking on their 40
79 min: Penalty Manly, Bulldogs offside. They attack 30 metres out from the line
80 min: Johnathan Wright dived on the loose ball and that is FULL TIME! The Bulldogs win 16-10 over Manly and they will advance to the preliminary final! Manly will play either the Cowboys or Broncos in the semi-final