NRL: Bulldogs beat Manly in top-of-the-table thriller

Sam Kasiano of the Bulldogs offloads during the NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images
Sam Kasiano of the Bulldogs offloads during the NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images

A late field goal and last gasp try from Canterbury captain Michael Ennis has given Canterbury a 23-16 win over Manly, the Bulldogs joining the Sea Eagles at the top of the NRL ladder in the process.

In a sloppy, error strewn contest the scores were locked at 16-all before Ennis calmly slotted the one-pointer five minutes from time.

He then strolled over in the 80th minute for the match-sealer which came from a Tim Browne forward pass that surprisingly went undetected by match officials.

The crucial State of Origin period win for the Dogs moves them alongside Manly on 24 points.

Penrith can join them there at the end of round 17 with a win over Wests Tigers on Sunday.

With both sides hit hard by Origin commitments and injury, Manly drew first blood when Dunamis Lui crashed over in the 16th minute through some soft Dogs goal-line defence after some clever work from Matt Ballin from dummy half.

Seven minutes later Canterbury struck back in a carbon-copy try when James Graham bust his way over from close range to tie the scores at 6-6 after Jamie Lyon and Krisnan Inu both converted.

With Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds missing due to NSW duty, Tony Williams and Josh Jackson stepped into the Bulldogs halves, with 'T-Rex' leading the home side around the park admirably.

His long pass put Sam Kasiano over for a controversial no-try in the corner and in the 36th minute a Williams pass to Inu created space for the Kiwi star and he beat three players on is way to the line.

Inu converted his own try for the Dogs to lead 12-6 at the break.

Clinton Gutherson crossed from a lovely Brett Stewart pass four minutes after the resumption before Corey Thompson took advantage of an error from the Manly fullback in his own in-goal to hit back in the 54th minute and cut the Dogs' lead to 16-10.

Justin Horo brought the Sea Eagles closer after Mitch Brown made a meal of a Jack Littlejohn kick and Lyon's conversion levelled the scores with 20 minutes to play.

With Aidan Tolman injured (hamstring) in the first half, the Dogs battled away with a three-man bench and Manly had the chance to pull ahead four minutes from time when Peta Hiku burst upfield.

But the movement broke down for Canterbury to take full advantage with Ennis' final try.

- AAP

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