Some games you breeze through like a Sunday morning, whereas other game hit you like a steam train – and earlier tonight, it was the steam train effect, as the Bulldogs were forced to do it tough, against a dogged and determined Manly side.
With the game evenly balanced, it was only a try to Ben Barba that sealed the deal – but with the Dogs down to 16 players for 16 minutes, with Kris Keating and Sam Kasiano leaving the field with hamstring and cheekbone injuries respectively – it was a brutal battle, according to Dogs five-eighth, Josh Reynolds.
“100 per cent, if I went down, they wouldn’t have had any halves out there,” Reynolds said after the match.
“It was just one of those games. There were plenty like me who were hurting.
“There were front-rowers out there having hit-ups out of our half getting absolutely bashed.
“That was just a massive effort.”
Reynolds described it as the toughest game that he has ever played in.
“It’s definitely the toughest game I’ve ever played,” Reynolds said.
“That second half, we just seemed to be in our own half the whole time, defending our backsides off.
“But I think that’s what kind of team we are, you know? We just hang in there for each other and someone will come up with a little play and we’ll just go off the back of that.”
On the other side of the coin, Manly coach Geoff Toovey was none too pleased with some of the decisions handed down by the referees.
“(The Bulldogs) had a bit of luck, but I think the two blokes in the middle didn’t help,” he said in the post-match press conference.
“I have to query the league and say where’s the best two referees in the game for this game tonight? Because the blokes in the middle were definitely not the best two for this job.
“They had terrible games. Terrible decisions.
“I can’t wait until they try and explain some of them.”
Toovey was particularly fired up about the Dogs second try, claiming that Perrett was offside from the Reynolds kick.
“Maybe, like other coaches in the competition, I need to go have a meeting with them, like certain other coaches do,” Toovey said.
“I’ve had discussions at the beginning of the year and, mate, they just say ‘no, you’re wrong and we’re right’. That’s it, that’s as far as it goes.
Manly’s co-captain Jamie Lyon shared his coaches sentiments, saying that any appeal he had, was ignored by the referees in the middle.
“They don’t listen,” he said.
“I definitely tried to talk to them a couple of times.
“(They said) they’ll look at it and tell you to go away, like they usually do.
“Once they get their mind made up, that’s it. They don’t want to go into too much.”