Physicality is something that we are used to seeing in the NRL, but certainly not to the extent that we saw in this finals clash – as Manly attempted to batter and bruise the Dogs forwards, which they did so, but it was not enough to get the win.
The win for the Dogs means that they get the week off, but Manly will have to play next week, and face either the Brisbane Broncos or the North Queensland Cowboys.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler refuted claims that he took extra satisfaction with the win.
“A win in a semi-final is always satisfying,” Hasler said.
“But it’s no more satisfying than it would be against any other team. It was a tough game and it was a game we would rather win than lose.
“Both sides gave it their all and our fans should be very proud of them.”
The news does not get any better for Manly, with influential centre Jamie Lyon in doubt for next week’s clash with a calf injury, whilst forward Joe Galuvao limped off with an ankle injury.
It gets even worst, though, as both Jason King and Steve Matai may find themselves on the sidelines, after both were put on report in the space of 30 seconds.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey said he had no idea about the severity of the injuries suffered by his players, but the Manly coach was critical of the Dogs players being inside the 10, whilst his team had the ball.
“We just ran out of petrol at the end, we lost a couple of players and ran out of petrol,” he said.
“I thought our defence was really good, it was hard in attack missing Jamie but I thought we were playing back in the five metre rule at one stage.
“They were very quick off the line let’s just say that.
“I thought it was ridiculous to tell you the truth but that’s just me being a bit biased I suppose.
“If there was a 10m sprint in the Olympics there’d be a couple of gold medallists out there.”