Manly Warringah Sea Eagles grinded out an 18-14 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium in a defence-orientated match.
Coming into the game with just one win for the 2015 season, the Sea Eagles had to aim up against a strong Bulldogs outfit, which they did successfully.
Dylan Kelly and Manaia Rudolph were the standout performers for the Sea Eagles, as well as Michael Chee Kam who scored two tries and Kurt Aldridge who was perfect with his conversions.
The match started slowly with minimal highlights, except for an enormous yet perfect bomb put up by Kelly 10 minutes into the contest that was almost impossible to catch given the conditions.
The game finally cracked open in the 15th minute when Jarrod McInally scored for the Bulldogs in the left corner after a cutout pass from Jaline Graham. Levi Dodd kicked the goal from the sideline.
Six minutes later the Sea Eagles hit back when Chee Kam dived on a grubber to score. Aldridge’s conversion attempt was successful to make it 6 a piece.
The fullbacks of both teams played well all game, but particularly in the early stages of the match with Kelly always being around the ball and Graham making a nice dash out of the in-goal to get out of danger.
The opening 35 minutes of the game saw little attacking spark mixed with solid defence, but Rudolph changed this when he skipped through the Bulldogs defensive line to score a very good solo try under the posts.
Aldridge kicked the goal and the score was 12-6 to Manly at halftime.
Bulldogs halfback Lindon McGrady started the second half with a fantastic piece of play, as he chased down a runaway Ben Fritz and forced an error that saved a potential try.
Just two minutes later, McInally scored his second try of the night after a pass from Dodd, closing the gap to just 12-10 as the conversion was missed.
The next 20 minutes turned into a slow encounter just like most of the first half, with no tries being scored.
Tony Satini was denied a try after Fritz freakishly tapped the ball back for him to plant it down in the in-goal area before it was ruled to have gone forward.
With 15 minutes remaining, Aldridge did not properly execute an attempted attacking kick, and the Bulldogs earned a 20 metre restart and a seven tackle set.
Only one tackle was required as they got the quick tap that caught the Sea Eagles off guard and Tautalatasi Tasi scored a runaway try to put the Bulldogs in front once again. The conversion was missed with the score remaining 14-12.
In the 73rd minute, Chee Kam found the ball in his hands after a kick deflection to break through a one-on-one tackle and scored an incredible length-of-the-field try to put the Sea Eagles back in front.
Aldridge kicked his third conversion of the night to make it 18-14, the eventual final score.
It was a tough win for the Sea Eagles who had a slow start to the season but certainly proved their defensive credentials against a Bulldogs outfit that are currently ranked third in attack.
The Bulldogs will try and overcome a two-game losing streak against the Newcastle Knights at Hunter stadium next Sunday, while the Sea Eagles will head to North Sydney Oval to face the North Sydney Bears.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 18 (M Chee Kam 2, M Rudolph tries; K Aldridge 3 goals) bt Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 14 (J Mclnally 2, T Tasi tries; L Dodd 1 goal)