Manly have overcome another night of adversity to notch up their fifth win of the season with a hard-fought 18-10 victory over Canterbury at Lottoland on Saturday night.
In a week where the spotlight was on Manly coach Des Hasler fronting up against his former club, the Bulldogs had no answers late as a depleted Sea Eagles outfit dug deep to grind out a win in front of a vocal 10,148 crowd.
The victory was even more rewarding for Hasler given he was already missing Daly Cherry-Evans, Tom Trbojevic and Jorge Taufua, and then had Lachlan Croker (hamstring) and Addin Fonua-Blake (knee) suffer injuries during the match.
Canterbury welcomed back Dylan Napa but the visitors' last-tackle options hurt them the most, while their overall discipline let them down throughout the contest.
The Bulldogs' final play – where Lachlan Lewis failed with a short dropout to concede a penalty and put the game out of reach – summed up their evening.
Garrick dives over on the right
Fill-in Sea Eagles halfback Kane Elgey showed early that life without Cherry-Evans might not be too bad with the former Titans playmaker sending Reuben Garrick over for a double in near identical fashion with two looping passes for a 12-0 lead.
The Bulldogs returned serve three minutes later when Reimis Smith produced a stunning leap and one-handed take to score wide out.
Match: Sea Eagles v Bulldogs
Round 8 -
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Manly fought back and continued to surge despite a potential try of the year to Lachlan Croker being denied, followed by a Brendan Elliot four-pointer called back for an obstruction.
The home side stretched their lead to eight before halftime with a penalty goal from in front to complete a dominant opening half.
Canterbury were gifted territory immediately after the break with Elliot losing the ball from the kick-off, but some lacklustre kick options let the Bulldogs down.
With Croker off the field, Api Koroisau shifted to five-eighth for the Sea Eagles and worked well in tandem with Elgey to keep Manly's nose in front.
Canterbury back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera was denied a four-pointer in the 52nd minute after failing to ground the ball in another chance let slip.
A 40-20 from Jack Cogger again put the Bulldogs in position to strike and they made light work of the Sea Eagles' left edge to send Smith over for a double to close the gap to 14-10 with 20 minutes to play.
Two more penalty goals took Garrick's personal haul to 18 points and secured the Sea Eagles' their fifth win of the season.
The Bulldogs were left to rue their lack of discipline as they slumped to 2-6 on the season ahead of a Magic Round clash with Newcastle.
Smith flies above the pack