Manly demolish Dogs and NRL record books

·3-min read

Manly have racked up the biggest win in their 74-year history with Des Hasler setting his sights on the NRL top four after a 66-0 flogging of Canterbury.

On a day where records fell as fast as Bulldogs defenders, Tom Trbojevic's hot run continued with another hat-trick and two more try-assists.

Jason Saab bagged three tries to take his tally for the year to 16, while Reuben Garrick scored 30 points of his own to equal the most ever by a Sea Eagle in one match.

Daly Cherry-Evans also answered his critics as he dominated with ball in hand, regularly pulling apart the Bulldogs' defence after a week of conjecture over his status as Queensland captain.

By the time he was done Manly had eclipsed the 70-7 win they had over Penrith as the biggest in their history, and chalked up the largest margin of any team since Parramatta thrashed Cronulla 74-4 in 2003.

In doing so, Manly also became just the fourth side in history to post 50 points in three straight games after also wiping out North Queensland and Gold Coast in their last starts.

It also moved Manly into the top five at the expense of the Sydney Roosters, with Hasler still jokingly trying to keep his side under his famous radar.

"The only thing that's better than 66 points is nil in defence," Hasler said.

"We came here and we had a task to do and it's about positioning ourselves.

"You want to think not only about the win today, but also trying to work on for-and-against and (it) gives us a run at the top four.

"I still think the benchmarks are Melbourne and Penrith. We'll just try and make up the numbers."

With no crowd at Bankwest Stadium and very little resistance in defence from Canterbury, this felt every bit like a training run for the Sea Eagles.

But instead, this is NRL in 2021.

And in many ways, the Bulldogs were their own worst enemies.

Even withstanding that they were without five players through bubble breaches and five other top-liners through injury, this still qualified as their worst performance in recent memory.

In Kyle Flanagan's return the Bulldogs couldn't force a missed tackle out of Manly for the first 37 minutes.

Their last-tackle options were routinely poor, with the ball twice finding front-rowers on the final play in two of their best attacking opportunities.

They were also regularly stripped for numbers on the edges, with flyer Saab continually let loose.

All of Trbojevic's tries came in the space of 18 minutes, when both he and Cherry-Evans put the winger free and the fullback loomed up in support.

About the only thing that didn't go Trbojevic's way was when he tried a pass over the line to give brother Ben his first NRL try, only for it to be called back for an obstruction from the kick off.

In reality though, they were just playing with the Bulldogs and their former coach Trent Barrett.

"They're going to be a handful for the rest of the comp for the rest of the season I think," Barrett said.

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