give themselves half a chance
Walter - www.smh.com.au
12 Apr '04
Bulldogs 28 Manly 26
After watching Andrew Walker's sideline conversion
attempt to level the scores in the dying seconds of
yesterday's match at Telstra Stadium fall agonisingly
short, Manly coach Des Hasler declared: "You don't
beat the Bulldogs by kicking goals."
With winger Chris Hicks scoring the Sea Eagles' fifth
second-half try in the 79th minute to reduce the
Bulldogs' lead to two points, NRL officials were on the
sideline ensuring the timekeepers from both clubs were
aware of the extra-time rules.
But, according to Hasler, who later rattled off a list of
scores from the second half of each Manly game this
season, the result should never have come down to a goal
"I'm proud of the effort, we played with plenty of
spirit and showed plenty of courage today . . . but at
the same time we've got to be careful that we don't walk
away from this game satisfied," Hasler said.
"It's unacceptable and the players know that.
There's no good losses at this club and the club won't
accept a good loss."
A harsh assessment, perhaps, from Hasler - a former
primary school teacher - but a fair one.
At half-time, the Sea Eagles seemed to have little hope
of victory after the Bulldogs had raced to a comfortable
As they had done against North Queensland, the Roosters
and Cronulla, Manly dominated the scoring in the second
term. The problem is the Sea Eagles' only win was against
the Cowboys in round one when they came back from 14-0
down in Townsville.
Manly captain Steve Menzies said: "I think we tend
to come off our line a bit quicker and everything is a
bit more up tempo in the second 40 minutes when we're
totally focussed because of what happened in the first 40
minutes. It's probably a mental thing."
Even when they were down to 12 men midway through the
first half, when makeshift hooker Tony Grimaldi was in
the sin bin, the Bulldogs appeared to be in control of
Jamaal Lolesi had already scored the opening try when
Grimaldi was given his marching orders in the 18th
minute, but Manly failed to capitalise on the overlap.
With Hazem El Masri having fallen seven short of the
world record of 38 consecutive goals when he failed to
convert Lolesi's 11th-minute try, Walker had the
opportunity to reduce the Sea Eagles' deficit by two
points following Grimaldi's sin-binning.
But Hasler advised his players to keep the pressure on,
saying later: "If you think we lost this game
because we didn't take that kick, you're kidding
yourself. What about the four tries we should have
One of those missed opportunities occurred when
second-rower Anthony Watmough lost the ball reaching out
for the tryline, and the Bulldogs quickly responded
through Andrew Ryan at the opposite end in the 24th
Bulldogs replacement Roy Asotasi crossed in the 29th
minute to give his side a 16-0 lead, but it was a
crunching tackle by the 22-year-old Kiwi forward on Luke
Williamson that underscored the first-half dominance of
the home side.
Even referee Steve Clark was impressed, calling:
"That's dominant, all right."
A horrific leg injury suffered by Bulldogs five-eighth
Johnathan Thurston, who separated his tibia from his
fibula, coincided with the drop-off in intensity by the
Bulldogs, with skipper Steve Price saying that the back
line lost its rhythm.
Manly's fightback began two minutes into the second term
when Menzies put Watmough over and, despite El Masri
responding with a try of his own in the 47th minute, the
momentum had shifted away from the Bulldogs.
A double to Scott Donald in the 55th and 60th minutes was
separated only by Menzies' try, levelling the scores at
22-22, and even after Lolesi crossed in the 67th minute
to regain the lead for his side, Manly did not give up.
But, in the end, it was all too little too late.
"I know we can make a noise in this competition, and
I'd like to ask our fans to be patient," Hasler
(J Lolesi 2 A Ryan R Asotasi H El Masri tries H El Masri
4 goals) bt
MANLY SEA EAGLES 26
(S Donald 2 A Watmough S Menzies C Hicks tries A Walker 3
Referee: S Clark.
1 - Andrew WALKER
2 - Scott DONALD
3 - Albert TORRENS
4 - Steve MENZIES
5 - Chris HICKS
6 - Jye MULLANE
7 - Michael MONAGHAN
8 - Daniel HECKENBERG
9 - Chad RANDALL
10- Ian DONNELLY
11- Sam HARRIS
12- Nathan TUTT
13- Luke WILLIAMSON
14- Kylie LEULUAI
15 - Kane CLEAL
16- Anthony WATMOUGH
17- Shane DUNLEY