The Bulldogs and Sea Eagles have plenty to play for this week, with both sides determined to earn consecutive wins.
The Bulldogs sit in sixth place – four points behind fourth – and would love the opportunity for a valuable top-four finish. However, they face a tough task against the ninth-placed Sea Eagles who are going for their fourth-straight win in a late-season bid to make the finals.
“Manly at Brookvale – it’s tough going there,” said Bulldogs coach Andy Patmore. “We’ll have to be really good and we know there are areas we need to improve on.”
Manly piled on 22 unanswered points to overcome a 16-12 halftime deficit to convincingly beat the Wentworthville Magpies 34-20 at Ringrose Park.
Only outside the top eight on point differential, Manly’s finals chances largely lie on their own shoulders as they face the Bulldogs, Wentworthville and the Knights in the last three rounds of the regular season.
The Bulldogs toppled the league-leading Wyong Roos 29-22 last weekend as they look for late-season momentum of their own after bouncing back from consecutive losses – including a demoralising last-minute 35-34 loss against the Newcastle Knights where they lead 34-22 with 12 minutes remaining.
“We needed to be a bit tougher on ourselves,” Patmore said. “That Newcastle loss was horrendous. We’ve settled back in and hopefully we can get on a bit of a roll again.
“(Wyong) have been playing some really good football. Not only were they on top of the comp but were playing great footy too. It was a very hard-fought win and I’m very proud of the boys.”
Turning attention to Manly, Patmore knows that standings mean little in the most wide-open race in VB NSW Cup history.
“It’s a comp where everyone can beat everyone,” Patmore said. “If you don’t play well you’re going to get beat.”
Manly v Canterbury: Brookvale Oval, Saturday 15th August, 3:00pm
SEA EAGLES: 1 DOM REARDON 2 DELROY BERRYMAN 3 BRAYDEN WILIAME 4 TONY SATINI 5 DAVID WILLIAMS 6 JACK LITTLEJOHN 7 MANAIA RUDOLPH 8 SIOSAIA VAVE (c) 9 JAYDEN HODGES 10 TYSON ANDREWS 11 TODD WILSON 12 DYLAN KELLY 13 JORDAN LATHAM 14 KURT ALDRIDGE 15 BEN FRITZ 16 CHEYSE BLAIR 17 UITI BAKER COACH LUKE WILLIAMSON
BULLDOGS: 1 COREY THOMPSON 2 TYRONE PHILLIPS 3 CHASE STANLEY 4 LEVI DODD 5 JARROD MCINALLY 6 MATT FRAWLEY 7 JALINE GRAHAM 8 ANTONIO KAUFUSI 9 DAMIEN COOK 10 HERMAN ESE’ESE 11 GEORGE TSIKRIKAS 12 ADAM ELLIOTT 13 JASON SCHIRNACK 14 BRAD CLARK 15 PAT O’HANLON 16 TAUTALATASI TASI 17 MAKAHESI MAKATOA COACH ANDREW PATMORE
This article first appeared on NSWRL.com.au