The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have finally managed to put in a dominant 80 minutes of football, running out 36-22 winners over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
Halfback Dane Chilsolm was simply outstanding for the home side, having a hand in four tries while managing to grab two of his own. Bronson Garlick was dynamic out of dummy-half with some darting runs, whilst former Junior Kiwi Renouf To’omaga was incredibly dominant and also managing to cross for two four-pointers.
A strong opening five minutes of the game from both sides saw some dominant runs being made from both forwards as they attempted to stamp their ground in the early stages of the game. It also saw the Bulldogs managing to work there way prominently into the Sea Eagles' 20 metre zone in an attempt to draw first blood in the bottom eight encounter.
The Bulldogs managed to take full advantage of the opportunity, with back-rower George Tskrikas scooping up a perfect grubber from Dane Chilsolm to claim the first points of the afternoon. Brad Abbey converted from just to the left of the uprights to set the score at 6-0 after 10 minutes.
A penalty against the run of play from the Sea Eagles proved to be a costly mistake for the away side, as the Bulldogs continued to mount pressure on their defence through a neat kicking game from Dane Chilsolm, who earned repeat sets with perfectly executed grubbers. Despite the pressure, an unforced error from the home side ruined their chances of extending the lead.
Some valuable field position and repeat sets for Manly was the closest they got to crossing the white line, despite some threatening attacking raids and a promising backline movement resulting in a knock-on in the left hand corner.
Moments later, a pin-point cross field kick from Chilsolm allowed winger Reimis Smith to streak down the sideline, before drawing the fullback and gifting Renouf To’omaga a four pointer to extend the lead to 12 after half an hour.
Some outstanding carries from Graham Clarke and Jake Kamire gave the Bulldogs another opportunity to extend there lead with Chilsom, again, being the provider for To’omaga’s second try with a beautiful short ball. Abbey converted the try and the Bulldogs held a commanding lead of 18 points closing into half-time.
The Sea Eagles managed to cross right on half-time, with a short side play resulting in a try to Jesse Raimen and his try setting the scores at 18-4 after the first 40 minutes. Despite the consolation, it was a commanding display from the Bulldogs in the first half who were dominant in many aspects of the game, partly thanks to a strong platform laid by their forwards.
The Bulldogs started the second half just as they ended the first, quickly grabbing a try through George Tsokrikas who was on the end of a bullet-like pass and barged his way over to the left of the uprights to claim his second try of the afternoon. Abbey continued his perfect kicking, again converting to extend the lead to 20 points after 45 minutes.
An error off the kick off from the Bulldogs invited the Eagles to earn themselves a quick reply and they looked no further than barnstorming back-rower Liam Knight, who crashed his way through some flimsy defence to score Manly’s second try of the afternoon.
Dane Chilsolm managed to pluck an intercept straight off the kick off after conceding their second try, streaking away and crossing in the right hand corner to add more salt into the wounds of the Manly outfit. The try gave the Bulldogs a handy lead, the scoreline set at 28-10 after 50 minutes.
Chilsolm stamped his presence in the game even further, stepping his way around three defenders and fooling the defence with a brilliant dummy which put him over for his second try of the afternoon. The try extended the lead to 22 points just before the hour mark.
An error from the Bulldogs coming out of their own end gifted Rhys Armstrong a four-pointer for himself, as he capitalised on a loose ball and somehow managed to cross the line despite the efforts of three Bulldogs defenders. The try was converted and the score was 32-16 with 15 minutes left in the contest.
Smith managed to grab his second try late in the game, again on the receiving end of a perfect kick from Chilsolm who was a having an outstanding day with the boot. Abbey failed to convert from the sideline with the Bulldogs having another 20 point lead with 10 minutes to play.
Manly managed to grab a consolation try in the dying stages of the game, with Cade Cust darting through the Dogs defence before evading the fullback to cross for Manly’s fourth try of the game.
Despite some final razzle dazzle footy from the Manly side, the Bulldogs managed to hold their own as they eventually ran out 36-22 victors at Belmore Oval.