Manly beat Dogs to crack NRL top four

·3-min read

Superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic scored another hat-trick of tries as Manly moved into the NRL top four with a 36-18 win over a resolute Canterbury at Redcliffe.

Trobojevic made it four hat-tricks in a remarkable season as the Sea Eagles overcame a clunky display and plenty of spirit from the last-placed Bulldogs at Moreton Daily Stadium to put themselves in the box seat for a finals double-chance.

The victory means Manly are fourth on the ladder with one round remaining, having leapfrogged Parramatta and the Sydney Roosters due to their better points differential.

After losing their first four matches of 2021, it's the first time this season Manly have been in the competition's top four.

"It takes a season and then we arrive at this point where we are not in too bad shape," coach Des Hasler said.

"We have got our nose in the top four now so we just want to manage that and keep working on those parts we can control.

"We've got to finish it off and get the job done next week (against North Queensland)."

Despite the win, Hasler will have plenty to work on during the week with Canterbury stunning the Sea Eagles to lead 12-10 at halftime.

A controversial first try to Trbojevic, when replays suggested he'd lost the ball under pressure from Jack Hetherington, got the Sea Eagles rolling in the second half and they ended up running in four tries to one in the second term.

Winger Jason Saab scored a double as the Sea Eagles' back three of Saab, Trbojevic and Reuben Garrick made history by becoming the first trio in a single team to score 20 or more tries each in a single season.

Hasler however acknowledged it was far from a polished display against the hapless Bulldogs, who have now lost 10 straight.

"We recognise we were down in a few areas but we will make sure when the big games come around that we are ready to go," he said.

On a tough day for the Bulldogs, young forward Matt Doorey suffered a suspected ACL injury to his right knee before halftime.

Coach Trent Barrett was also less than impressed by the bunker's decision to award Trbojevic's first try as well as an incident which saw Joe Stimson placed on report for pulling on Marty Tapau's hair.

"The try to Trbojevic which wasn't a try, how they get that wrong, I just don't know?," Barrett said.

"And it changes the game. That was a bad one, there were a few.

"Joe Stimson, his hand got tangled up in his hair. He gets put on report, so they get a free interchange in the searing heat which would have worked in our favour as well and it costs us two points.

"It's not Joe's fault Marty's got long hair.

"I watched (Sydney Roosters coach) Trent Robinson's press conference the other day and I can see why he was so frustrated."

Manly can wrap up fourth place with a win over the Cowboys next weekend, while Canterbury have one last chance to snap their losing run when they play Wests Tigers.

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