By Steve Greige
Canterbury has 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 ball and had too much pace for the Manly backs to score in the far 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 trysaving 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 former Rooster 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 in his own half through a huge gap in the heart of the Manly defence, swerved past the fullback and then the centre outpaced the cover to score a superb solo try to give the Bulldogs a 14 point buffer.
The Eagles could’ve 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.
This weekend the Bulldogs head west to face the Panthers at Sportingbet Stadium while Manly return home to take on the unbeaten Wentworthville Magpies.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 32 (J Graham 2, E Murphy, L Perrett, T Phillips, P Templeman tries; P Templeman 4 goals) def. Manly Sea Eagles 10 (C McMurrich, D Berryman tries; D Berryman goal) at Belmore Sports Ground.