In round 14 of the 2013 season, the Bulldogs got home in a golden point thriller, 32-30 over the Sea-Eagles at Brookvale Oval in front of 12,157 fans.
It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to get possession after kicking off to start the match with NSW Origin star Anthony Watmough looking to push an offload on tackle two that resulted in referee Shayne Hayne ruling a knock-on. From the following set the Bulldogs worked to hold on to the ball and on the last tackle halfback Trent Hodkinson put in a cross-kick towards the left hand side with Josh Morris climbing above the pack to come down with the ball and score his first try of season 2013. Hodkinson converted to put the Bulldogs in front 6-nil.
The home side were ruled to have been offside seven minutes later with the Bulldogs again getting an attacking opportunity starting from 35m out. Again the Bulldogs worked through the set and on the last it was again Hodkinson who put the ball up into the air and into the in-goal area. As the ball came down Manly players Steve Matai and Kieran Foran were caught in a mix-up and unable to hold on to the ball with Ben Barba pouncing on loose ball to score. Hodkinson again converted to put the Bulldogs out to a 12-nil lead.
The Hodkinson show continued when the former Eagle orchestrated the Bulldogs third try. Again in the attacking zone, Hodkinson took the ball to the line and double pumped looking to pas but had Kiwi international Frank Pritchard charging back on the inside and the halfback turned it back to the back rower who had too much strength to run over Watmough and reach out to score. Hodkinson hooked his conversion attempt but it managed to sneak inside the uprights to extend the lead out to 18-nil after 19 minutes.
The next period was all the Sea-Eagles with the home side playing disciplined rugby league and getting four sets back to back which resulted in their opening four pointer of the night. The Bulldogs were strong in defence but after errors from Morris and Sam Perrett followed by a penalty for a shoulder charge against Pritchard it proved too much for the men from Belmore. It was Foran who took control of the play and the five-eighth managed to break free of a tackle which then put him into open space. As the cover defence came across he sent the ball out to his left hand winger, Jorge Taufua who went over to score in the south-eastern corner. Lyon hooked the ball back to convert from the sideline and reduce the lead to 18-6 after 28 minutes.
The closing period of the match was played from end to end with neither side able to break the line and register points. It was the Bulldogs who went to the sheds leading 18-6.
Some standouts from the first-half were James Graham (15 runs, 108m, 21 tackles), Hodkinson (3 try assists) and Greg Eastwood (7 carries, 48m and 10 tackles).
The second half started just as the first did, with a Bulldogs try after just three minutes of play. It was Josh Reynolds who took the lead this time around when he managed to get outside of his man before passing it on to Perrett who quickly drew and passed to Krisnan Inu. From there Inu made the move into space before finding Reynolds back on the inside, the Bulldogs junior then had a rushing Barba to his left who he sent away to score just 5m to the right of the uprights. Hodkinson made it four from four to put the Bulldogs in front 24-6.
Just seven minutes later the home side were able to answer back through back rower Justin Horo. The Sea-Eagles had the ball close to the line and the ball went through the hands of Foran, Jamie Buhrer who then got his right hand free to offload to Horo who crashed over Barba to score. Lyon again converted to make the score 24-12.
The next period of play was filled with controversy. The first was a decision by referee Shayne Hayne to make a ruling that Barba was taken back into his in-goal area, the second being the ‘try’ call on a Reynolds try. The original decision was ruled to have been correct after the video referees couldn’t prove that the ball was put down short. Trent Hodkinson converted the piece of individual brilliance from Reynolds to put the lead out once more to three converted tries, 30-18 after 59 minutes.
The final 15 minutes saw the Sea-Eagles run in three unanswered tries to level scores at 30-all after the 80 minutes. One was off the back of a 60m break that ended with a Cherry-Evans try. The halfback backed it up with a great individual try in the 75th before a Foran chip ricocheted off Reynolds to land in the hands of Steve Matai who scored. The pressure was on Lyon to convert and the Manly Captain took it on to convert and level the scores.
The Bulldogs received the ball in the first period of golden point and after both sides had a set each it was the blue and whites who earned a penalty after Glenn Stewart pulled down Reynolds. The home side were then marched 10m after Kieran Foran charged at the referee with a complaint. From 35m and 10m to the right of the uprights Hodkinson lined it up and struck it sweetly to get the win.
BULLDOGS 32 (Morris, Barba, Pritchard, Barba, Reynolds Tries; Hodkinson 6 Goals)
SEA-EAGLES 30 (Taufua, Horo, Cherry-Evans 2, Matai Tries ; Lyon 5 Goals)
At: Brookvale Oval