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In a one-sided affair at Brookvale Oval this afternoon, the Canterbury Bulldogs has continued their recent hot form to systematically dismantle the Manly Sea Eagles, running out victors by 56 points to 24.
And goal-kicking supremo Hazem El Masri has narrowly failed in his bid to break the World Record of consecutive goals set by Henry Paul when attempting his 36th shot in a row, by crossing the face of the uprights and watching the ball fade outside the goal posts.
But at the rate Canterbury were playing today, he was unlucky not to get another go at the record.
The Bulldogs comprehensively outplayed the Manly club who face a tough off season of training with incoming coach Des Hasler. One small victory Manly can take away is the opening 18 minutes of the second half where they out-enthused the Bulldogs to race in two quick tries through Steve Menzies and get the scores back to 34-20.
However, that didn?t last too long with the Bulldogs going beserk in the ensuing 22 minutes to rack up their third consecutive 50-point game along with Matt Utai?s third consecutive hat-trick of tries.
But the day belonged to Hazem El Masri, who although narrowly missed an extremely difficult kick which would have put him one past the World Record, still managed to belt 8 from 10 over the black dot and perfectly compliment the try-scoring rampage of the team.
The Doggies have now moved into third place and sit in striking distance of the minor premiership with three games left to play. Their for and against has rapidly improved in recent weeks and with the semis only weeks away, appear to be firming as favourites to claim Norm Provan and Arthur Summons trophy in the first week of October.
Leagueunlimited.com Player of the Year Awards
3 ? H. El Masri (Bulldogs) 2 ? M. Utai (Bulldogs) 1 ? W. Mason (Bulldogs)
Sunday 17 August 2003 3:00 PM Brookvale Oval Referee: Tim Mander Video Referee: Mick Lewis Scorers: SEA EAGLES Tries: Dorn, Menzies 2, Watmough Goals: Walker 4/6 BULLDOGS Tries: Thurston 2, Mason 2, Patten 2, Utai 3, Vagana Goals: El Masri 8/10 By the clock: 0 min:
3 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Thurston breaks the line and scores the match opening try. Bulldogs 4 Eagles 0.
3 min: El Masri converts and takes the score to 6-0 in favour of the Bulldogs.
NEWS - El Masri breaks Darryl Halligan's goal kicking record by landing his 31st consecutive goal. He's now chasing Henry Paul's record of 35 in a row.
10 min: Ben Walker pots a goal for the home team to claw back 2 points. Bulldogs 6 Sea Eagles 2.
15 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Big Willie Mason goes over for the visitors and takes the score to 10-2.
17 min: El Masri converts to take the lead to 12-2 in favour of the Bulldogs. That's 32 and counting.
20 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Patten races away to score for the Doggies after some scrappy play. Bulldogs lead 16-2 over the Sea Eagles.
22 min: El Masri converts to make it 18-2 and 33 in a row.
23 min: TRY - Manly. Luke Dorn takes on the defence from a scrum and scores for the Sea Eagles. Canterbury 18 Manly 6.
24 min: Ben Walker makes no mistake and the Sea Eagles are creeping back into the contest at 18-8 down.
27 min: Ben Walker kicks a penalty goal to take the score back to 18-10 in favour of the Bulldogs.
31 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Matt Utai strolls over after an angled run by Thurston and some pretty shabby defence from Manly. Bulldogs 22 Sea Eagles 10.
32 min: El Masri kicks the goal to stretch the lead to 24-10. 34 in a row and closing in. By the looks of things he will get an opporunity at the record shortly.
38 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Matt Utai in for his double and right under the posts. 28-10 in favour of the Bulldogs.
39 min: El Masri kicks the goal to equal Henry Paul's world record. Bulldogs 30 Sea Eagles 10.
40 min: TRY - Bulldogs. After a restart that went out on the full, the Doggies are on a rampage and Patten scores in the corner. Bulldogs 34 Sea Eagles 10.
40 min: El Masri MISSES! Very difficult kick and it crosses the face of the upright. World record stays at 35 in a row, but it's now shared by Paul and El Masri. Scores remain Bulldogs 34 Sea Eagles 10.
Bulldogs all over the Sea Eagles, savaging them at every opportunity and the Manly club seem to have little answer to the dominance of the Blue and Whites. This could be anything today, the Doggies are looking great and the score resembles that of a full time outcome, not a half time one.
43 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Menzies goes in to add some respectablity to the score. Bulldogs 34 Sea Eagle 14.
43 min: Walker adds the extras. 34-16 in favour of the Bulldogs.
48 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Manly applying themselves to the game after a bad first half. Menzies scores his second out wide and it's now 34-20 in favour of the Doggies.
48 min: Walker misses a hard attempt. 34-20 Canterbury leading Manly.
NEWS - Manly putting in to avaid complete embarrassment.
58 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Vagana gets into the action and grabs a meat pie for good measure. Bulldogs 38 Eagles 20
59 min: El Masri kicks the goal to start the long journey again. Bulldogs 40 Sea Eagles 20.
61 min: Utai disallowed a try after a knock on. Bulldogs starting to re-ignite the game.
65 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Watmough goes from dummy hafl and barges through for a four-pointer. Bulldogs 40 Sea Eagles 24.
65 min: Walker misses a tough kick. Scoreline remains Bulldogs 40 Sea Eagles 24.
72 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Utai gets his third hat-trick in a row as Canterbury lead 44-24.
72 min: El Masri misses another difficult kick. Bulldogs 44 Sea Eagles 24.
74 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Thurston scores his second to seal the victory. Bulldogs 48 Sea Eagles 24.
75 min: El Masri makes no mistake in racking up the half century. Bulldogs 50 Manly 24.
76 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Mason scores after a rampage downfield has lead to a massive break and more points. Bulldogs 54 Manly 24.
77 min: El Masri gets another. Bulldogs 56 Sea Eagles 24.
The massacre is over with Canterbury smashing Manly in a rampage which would have rival semi-final clubs shaking in their boots. The Bulldogs are well and truly back after three weeks of absolute domination against opposition who are just streets behind them.