23 Sep 2014

Bulldogs one win from Grand Final

1:40 pm on 23 September 2014

The Canterbury Bulldogs will play Penrith for a place in the National Rugby League grand final after a golden point field goal gave them a scrappy but thrilling 18-17 win over Manly in their semi-final in Sydney.

Bulldogs Head Coach Des Hasler during the after match press conference. 2014.

Bulldogs Head Coach Des Hasler during the after match press conference. 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The scores were locked at 17-17 after the Bulldogs halfback Trent Hodkinson and his Sea Eagles counterpart Daly Cherry-Evans had kicked late field goals before 28,186 fans.

The New South Wales half landed the match-winning point four minutes into the extra time period, after bouncing back from a first half knee injury in a dramatic encounter.

The Dogs led 16-6 at half-time and things stayed that way until well into the second half until Brett Stewart brought Manly right back into the contest in the 64th minute when he dummied and sliced his way through the Dogs line from 20m out for the Sea Eagles to drag closer 16-12.

Cheyse Blair then pounced on a loose ball in the Dogs' in-goal in the 71st minute and the game arrived at its second flashpoint.

Canterbury captain Michael Ennis spilt the ball in-goal from a Sea Eagles kick and Manly players - in particular James Hasson and Justin Horo - rushed to give the serial pest some of his own medicine.

In the ensuing melee Dogs utility Reni Maitua punched Hasson and was marched for the mandatory 10-minute sin-binning.

He was the second man given a rest for the offence after Josh Starling punched Josh Jackson in the first half.

Lyon missed the conversion for a 16-16 scoreline.

Hodkinson put the Dogs one point ahead in the 75th minute after a Josh Reynolds last tackle kick hit referee Gerard Sutton and game Canterbury a fortuitous scrum feed 20 metres out.

But Cherry-Evans calmly returned the favour one minute from full-time to put the game into an extra period, before the Bulldogs playmaker sealed the result for Canterbury.

The Rabbitohs play the Roosters in next weekend's other preliminary final.

Dogs back-rower Josh Jackson was put on report for a 24th minute 'chicken wing' tackle on Josh Starling, which could keep him out of the preliminary final with Penrith.

Meanwhile the Junior Warriors are one win away from the under-20s grand final after beating Newcastle 23-16 in Saturday night's semi-final.

The Warriors will face the Eels in next weekend's preliminary final.