Matthew Gallagher looks at h...
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The Manly Sea Eagles have defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs 16-14 in a tight tussle at Telstra Stadium tonight to maintain their undefeated record after five rounds.
Both sides would have been unimpressed with their first half efforts as plenty of errors meant neither side could build any pressure. Each team scored a try from an opposition error as the Bulldogs took a 6-4 advantage into the sheds at halftime.
The tempo of the match increased sharply in the second half as both teams emerged from the break with the strong words from their coaches still ringing in their ears. Sonny Bill Williams featured prominently as the Bulldogs increased their lead to eight points, but the Sea Eagles were able to hit back almost straight away as Chris Hicks capitalised on a mistake from Hazem El Masri to reduce the Bulldogs lead back to only two.
Neither team wanted to give an inch as the game opened up, producing some sparkling end-to-end football with both sets of forwards aiming up for the challenge. Strangely though, the Bulldogs opted for a penalty goal at a crucial stage when they had plenty of momentum and it appeared that a bit more pressure could have broken the determined Manly defence.
In the end the match was decided by a piece of brilliance from Michael Monaghan, who chipped ahead for himself and set up the match-winning try for Steve Bell in the 70th minute of the game. The Sea Eagles grimly and successfully defended their two point lead for the final ten minutes as the Bulldogs tried hard but simply couldn