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A sunny afternoon at Sydney Showground and the Bulldogs had a win over the Sea Eagles by 34 - 20.
The Bulldogs started the game off well with 2 early tries and looked set to post a big score against the Sea Eagles. Manly not phased by the Bulldogs, chipped away at their opposition, and kept in touch as they did throughout the game, scoring a try of their own in the first half to make the score 12-6.
Another try to the Bulldogs and they went into the break with a handy 18-6 lead.
Carrying on where they left off in the first half, the Bulldogs added another 6 points in the 41st minute and were probably guilty of falling off the pace when the Sea Eagles scored two very quick tries to once again closing the gap with the score at 24-16.
Back to back tries again to the Bulldogs and the game was pretty much sown up, with just a consolation try to Hopoate in the dying minutes of the game.
Stand out players for the Bulldogs wrere Sherwin, Vagana and the forever steady Price. Randall, Menzies and Hopoate performed well for the Sea Eagles as did Ben Walker.
Scorers: BULLDOGS 34 Tries: Vagana, Utai, Sherwin, Anasta, Harris, Grimaldi Goals: El Masri (5/7)
SEA EAGLES 20 Tries: Walker, McGuiness, Donald, Hopoate Goals: Walker (2/4)
Sunday 15 June 2003 2:30 PM Sydney Showground Referee: Stephen Clark
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 - N Vagana (Bulldogs) 2 - B Sherwin (Bulldogs) 1 - C Randall (Sea Eagles)
By the clock:
0 min: KICK OFF!
4th min: TRY - Vagana for Bulldogs. McGuiness (Manly) playing at the out of position fullback role, knocks on a high ball in the bright sunlight. 3 tackles and Vagana, wearing head gear this afternoon, has no trouble getting over the line. El Masri from 10 metres in from touch, gets the conversion. Bulldogs 6-0
10th min: NEWS - Back to back sets of six for Manly to look threatening, but a one on one strip puts pay to any scoring opportunities. A penalty and suddenly the Bulldogs are hot on attack
12th min: PENALTY GOAL - El Masri for Bulldogs. Sea Eagles penalised 3 times in a row and it hurts, especially one on the fifth tackle. Last penalty for being inside the ten gives El Masri a kick from right out in front. Bulldogs 8-0
14th min: NEWS - Sea Eagles looking good on attack, very close to scoring out wide, but a try saving tackle by Vagana put the attack out over the sideline
18th min: TRY - Utai for Bulldogs. A penalty yet again to the Bulldogs not far out from the Manly line, sets them up down field for the attack. Sherwin keeps the defence guessing, nice balls out wide and Utai is over in the corner. El Masri from the sideline, just misses the conversion. Bulldogs 12-0
22nd min: NEWS - The kick off went over the sideline giving possession to Manly in prime position. The ball ends up over the goal line but in bounced around all over the place finally resulting in a knock on by the Bulldogs. Vagana gets the intercept and is finally tackled 70 metres down the field
24th min: TRY - Walker for Manly. The set following Vagana's break is for Manly. Walker puts a flying Williamson through the gap, then backs up to cross the line under the posts. Walker has no trouble converting his try. Bulldogs 12-6
28th min: NEWS - Hopoate (Manly) taken out under a high kick for the Bulldogs. Nothing serious, the Bulldogs penalised, and not given a try after Harris crossed the line
30th min: TRY - Sherwin for Bulldogs. A great set of six by the Bulldogs from the kick off. Sherwin, on the 4th tackle, does a little hooked chip through and dives on it himself and scores. El Masri from right out in front has no trouble adding the 2. Bulldogs 18-6
35th min: NEWS - Sea Eagles making ground yet again, got caught up in the 5th tackle option and have to hand over. Once again Manly get penalised for the play of the ball.
HALF TIME: Not flash footy nevertheless a good game.
Stats at halftime:
The Bulldogs have completed 12 of 19 sets while the Sea Eagles have completed 15 out of 23. The Bulldogs have made 139 tackles, 71 hitups and 12 missed tackles. Manly have made 135 tackles, 88 hitups and 13 missed tackles. The Bulldogs side have made 11 handling errors and the Sea Eagles have made 9. For the Bulldogs the top tackler has been Price with 20 and also the most hitups on 14. For the Sea Eagles, the top tackler has been Randall and Hopoate has made the most hitups with 13. Penalties were 5 to the Bulldogs and 3 to the Sea Eagles.
42nd min: TRY - Anasta for Bulldogs. The Dogs have come out fired up from the break, and put on good metres from the start of the half. Sherwin puts up a high bomb which bounces causing problems for McGuiness yet again. Anasta gets the ball and scores behind the posts. El Masri gets the conversion. Bulldogs 24-6
46th min: NEWS - Glen Hughes(Bulldogs) with a calf strain unlikely to return to the match. Sea Eagles getting possession but unable to score
48th min: TRY - McGuiness for Sea Eagles. Haumono grets through the defence and gets a great inside ball to McGuiness who scores in the corner. Walker from the sideline, gets a beauty kick. Bulldogs 24-12
51st min: TRY - Donald for Sea Eagles. Haumono yet again gets a player through the gap, this time Walker. Following tackles close to the line, a Bulldogs player goes for the intercept leaving Donald to get across out wide, unmarked. Walker misses the kick from the sideline. Bulldogs 24-16
54th min: NEWS - Again the Sea Eagles hot on attack, the Bulldogs guilty of complacency. Walker puts up a kick on the 5th tackle which hits the post and bounces back for MacDougall. Another try saving tackle made by Vagana
65th min: TRY - Harris for Bulldogs. Go forward by the Bulldogs was rewarded when Sherwin put a kick out to the side for Harris to collect and come around under the posts. Hopoate had come in off his wing anticipating a grubber kick but was wrong footed. El Masri has no trouble with the conversion. Bulldogs 30-16
73rd min: TRY - Grimaldi for Bulldogs. Back to back line dropouts for the Bulldogs and it was only a matter of time until the scrambling defence finally broke. Grimaldi had no trouble ducking under to score. El Masri from just outside the 20 metre mark, misses the conversion. Bulldogs 34-16
77th min: TRY - Hopoate for Sea Eagles. A mistake by Patten and Manly go flying up the middle. A great tackle by Vagana stops the play,. Manly get another penalty, spread the ball and are rewarded with a 4 pointer. Walker from just inside the touchline misses the kick. Bulldogs 34-20 McGuiness (Sea Eagles) injured in the last play, ending up over the advertising boards and has left the field
79th min: NEWS - Utai (Bulldogs) almost scoring again but just knocked on from the kick. Hopoate (Sea Eagles) almost scores as well but the ball beat him over the dead ball line.
FULL TIME: Bulldogs never in danger of losing the match, but had a bit of work to do at times