Canterbury have recorded their first win of the season with a 32-10 victory over Manly in their VB NSW Cup at Belmore Sports Ground.
Although an upset looked on the cards at half-time with the Sea Eagles up 10-6, Canterbury’s classy halves combination of Jaline Graham and Pat Templeman proved the difference in the second stanza scoring 20 points between them.
Manly were winning the arm wrestle in the opening exchanges and struck first in the 18th minute when former Panther and Tiger Masada Iosefa put in a nicely weighted grubber 10 metres out for his right centre Delroy Berryman who then regathered the ball and dived over to make it 4-0.
Canterbury hit back five minutes later when former Rabbitoh Tyrone Phillips got on the outside down the right edge from a Jaline Graham short ball and had too much pace for the Manly backs to score in the corner. Five-Eighth Templeman’s sweetly timed left foot conversion gave the home team a 6-4 lead.
The Eagles went to the break with a 10-6 lead when interchange hooker Craig McMurrich backed up on the inside to cross left of the post and Berryman converted.
However the Bulldogs did have a great chance to level the scores on the stroke of half-time but former Dragon Kayne Brennan was denied by a great ball-and- all try saving tackle from replacement fullback Matt Ikuvalu.
It was Groundhog Day for Manly Coach Luke Williamson and his troops for the second week in a row after the break, failing to trouble the scorers and letting in plenty of points.
Bulldogs playmaker Graham started the Canterbury comeback in the 44th minute when he ran on to a great ball from Sam Perrett’s little
brother Lloyd 15 metres out and showed some fancy footwork to step the fullback and score under the sticks.
Things got worse for the Sea Eagles over the next ten minutes with front row enforcer Ligi Sao being placed on report twice for dangerous tackles and the home team extending their lead to 18-10 when Bulldogs hooker Brad Clarke looked more like Tim Cahill putting in a grubber 20 metres out when nothing was doing and keeping the ball on the toe, dribbling it into the in-goal before being taken out, but Perrett swooped on the bouncing ball to score left of the post and Templeman converted.Canterbury looked home in the 62nd minute when Mungindi Grasshoppers junior Ed Murphy scooted out of dummy half, through a huge gap in the heart of the Manly defence, swerving past the fullback and then outpacing the cover to score a superb solo try to give the Bulldogs a 14 point buffer.
The Eagles could have set up an interesting finish in the 68th minute had lock Daniel Harrison, who returned to Manly during the week after an unhappy stint at Parramatta, held on to a nice inside ball from captain Clinton Gutherson just short of the line.
But the Bulldogs put the game to bed with two unconverted tries in the final five minutes to exciting halves Graham and Templeman to make the final scoreline 32-10.
For Bulldogs coach, Barry Ward the win was the first for the year and and a step in the right direction at this early stage of the competition.
The Bulldogs next clash is against the Penrith Panthers at SportingBet Stadium on Saturday March 22nd. (Kick –off 2:10pm)
Tries : Jaline Graham (2), Patrick Templeman, Ed Murphy, Lloyd Perrett and Tyrone Phillips
Goals: Patrick Templeman (4)
Tries: Delroy Berryman and Craig McMurragh
Goals: Craig McMurragh
JUNIOR REP RESULTS – Round 5
Harold Matthews Cup: Bulldogs 20 – Newcastle 22
SG Ball Cup: Bulldogs 6 – Newcastle 40
NEXT WEEK – Games at Belmore Sports Ground (Friday night March 21st)
SG Ball Cup - Bulldogs vs Sydney Roosters (Kick off 6:00pm)
Harold Matthews Cup - Bulldogs vs Sydney Roosters (Kick off 7:30pm)