Highlights: Sea Eagles v Bulldogs (Rd 23)
The Manly Sea Eagles enter the top eight with two rounds to play after fighting back from a half time deficit for the second week in a row.
Manly’s Jayden Hodges was instrumental in Manly’s victory over the Bulldogs, guiding them to score 22 unanswered points in the second stanza.
Both teams fought tooth and nail to gain ground in the opening of the match, but poor last tackle decisions saw neither side pose any real threat. The Sea Eagles were quickly able to open up the playing field, following a penalty decision - allowing Jack Littlejohn to side-step his way into scoring on the wing for the 4-0 lead.
Both sides provided enormous defensive efforts, seeing the match go end to end. The Bulldogs were finally crossed through Adam Elliot, only for the pass to be ruled forward.
The Bulldogs gained plenty of metres with offloads and also short passes, resulting in Jarrod McInally scoring on the wing to level the scores 4-all.
With the Bulldogs in control of the first half, Jarrod McInally scored his second try on the wing; and Tyrone Philips followed suit with a try of his own shortly after for the visitors to take a 12-4 halftime lead.
Manly began the second stanza on a strong note, taking full advantage of an early penalty for a high shot from Chase Stanley. The Sea Eagles applied full pressure on the Bulldogs, before yet another last-tackle option led the side to fall just shy of the line.
In a spectacular solo effort, Manala Rudolph was able to hurdle himself towards the try line, fending off Phillips before scoring for the Sea Eagles. Dylan Kelly kicked the conversion to trail 12-10.
The home side began to take momentum, with the Bulldogs desperate to find an answer. Manly levelled the scores at 12-all after Kelly kicked the penalty goal.
Ill-discipline and lack of execution gave Manly a golden opportunity with Kurt Aldridge capitalising to sell the defence with a dummy before passing to David Williams to score and take a 18-12 lead.
Manly then extended their lead to 20-12 with another penalty goal from 35 metres out.
With five minutes left of the match Manly were able to put the result to bed, with Ulti Baker scoring in the dying stages of the game and run out 26-12 winners.
Manly are now placed within the top eight, with two rounds left in the regular season. While the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will head back to Belmore, for their clash with the Illawarra Cutters.
Manly Sea Eagles 26 (David Williams, Jack Littlejohn, Manala Rudolph, Ulti Baker tries; Dylan Kelly 5 goals) bt Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12 (Jarrod McInally 2, Tyrone Phillips tries) at Brookvale Oval.