ROUND 7 - 2006

Date 23rd Apr 2006
Venue ANZ Stadium
Coach Steve Folkes
Captain Andrew Ryan
Referee Sean Hampstead
Crowd 13621
Bulldogs V Sea Eagles
14 40
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Scorers

Player Tries Goals F Goals Points
Willie Tonga 1 0 0 4
Matt Utai 1 0 0 4
Sonny Bill Williams 1 0 0 4
Hazem El Masri 0 1 0 2

Match Review

TEAM LINE-UP:

1. Luke Patten, 2. Hazem El Masri, 3. Andrew Emelio, 4. Willie Tonga, 18. Matt Utai, 6. Reni Maitua, 7. Daniel Holdsworth, 8. Mark O'Meley, 9. Corey Hughes, 10. Roy Asotasi, 11. Willie Mason, 12. Andrew Ryan, 13. Tony Grimaldi.
Interchange: 14. Adam Perry, 15. Chris Armit, 17. Sonny Bill Williams, 19. Brad Morrin

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Source: AAP

A dominant performance from Manly halfback Matt Orford helped Manly move into the NRL top six with a 40-14 hammering of an out-of-sorts Bulldogs side at Telstra Stadium.

Playing a disciplined style of football the Bulldogs could only hope to emulate, the Sea Eagles made amends for last round's disappointing two-point loss to St George Illawarra to run in six tries to three against the 2004 premiers.

The Bulldogs were their own worst enemies, and despite flirting with a second half comeback, had dug themselves too much of a hole in the opening 40 minutes when they completed only 12 of 18 sets to be down 28-6 at the break.

The writing was on the wall for the home side after only three minutes, when Orford scored under the sticks after a Bulldogs fumble on the opening set of the game.

Perched on the home side's line, five-eighth Travis Burns flopped the ball behind him despite the attention of three defenders, with Orford picking up the scraps before diving over.

Amazingly, Orford had his second four minutes later, the Manly halfback placing his hand on the ball for the easiest four-pointer of his career after a loose carry from Matt Utai saw the powerful Bulldogs winger lose the ball in his own in-goal.

Manly centre Steve Matai did his best to help the Bulldogs back into the contest, giving away two early penalties for being a little too over zealous in defence, and the home side took advantage with Willie Tonga going over out wide to cut the lead to 12-6.

But it was all Manly from that point, with forwards Ben Kennedy and Jason King laying a good platform for Orford to operate from.

Winger Paul Stephenson scored his first of the afternoon thanks to a good piece of vision from Steve Menzies, before a complete lack of communication between Luke Patten and Hazem El Masri saw Matai score under both their noses.

Stephenson, a late replacement for injured fullback Brett Stewart then secured his second just before the break, the 189cm Sea Eagle out leaping the 168cm Bulldog just before halftime.

The Bulldogs threatened to mount a late comeback with two tries in the space of five minutes, Sonny Bill Williams scoring his first of the season with a powerful effort to cut the margin to 30-14 with 17 minutes remaining.

But Sea Eagles skipper Kennedy wiped out any faint hope they may have had as he pounced on a Daniel Holdsworth mistake in front of his own line to scoot 20 metres to touch down under the posts before Steve Bell scored his eighth try of the year in the dying stages to complete the rout.

Data provided by Clint Crofts