Anthony Watmough

It was billed as a blockbuster clash and before the game, it lived up to the expectation – but once the game started, it was all one-way traffic, as the Manly Sea Eagles steamrolled the Canterbury Bulldogs 20-6 at ANZ Stadium.

The match will have Canterbury fans scratching their head and demanding improvement, as last year’s grand finalists have slumped to four losses from their first five games.

Manly on the other hand are on cloud nine, boasting 4 wins from 5 this season, as they look to go one better than last year – with their form early on in 2013 looking quite ominous.

With a lot of pressure also placed on the returning Ben Barba, who is playing his 2nd NRL clash following his return – the live-wire fullback is yet to get back to his best, looking a bit stagnant in attack and timid at times, though he was not helped by copping a knock to his ankle during the game.

With any Des Hasler coached side, you expect solid ball-control and great discipline, but today, the Bulldogs were anything but, something that Hasler picked up on as he lamented his side’s poor game.

“I thought we were off tonight, I thought we were a bit poor particularly in the first half,” Hasler, who described Williams’ form as “steady”, said.

“A lot of our options (were poor), we only got through about eight sets from 14, we were probably a bit better than that in the second half but Manly were too good for us tonight, they were the better side.

“I guess it’s the fact that we’ve probably been up for quite a while, but it was evident tonight.”

Manly’s defence has been near flawless so far this season, and it looked like they were going to keep a third team scoreless this year (Wests Tigers and Newcastle were the first two), before Michael Ennis grabbed a consolation try for the Dogs.

“Yeah it was (close to another shut out) but that’s terribly difficult in today’s competition,” Toovey said.

“They’re all quality teams so it’s always very difficult to hold a team out to zero.”

3. Anthony Watmough
2. Brett Stewart
1. Jorge Taufua

By ricky

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