Canterbury, winless since July, has surrendered a 10-point advantage in a 32-20 loss to Manly on Friday night to remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder with two rounds remaining.
- Manly came from behind to beat the Bulldogs and snap a six-match losing streak
- The Sea Eagles still have an outside chance of making the finals but they will need other results to go their way
- The Bulldogs are facing the prospect of claiming the wooden spoon for only the third time in the club’s history
Up against heavyweights South Sydney and Penrith in the closing two rounds, the Bulldogs’ seventh straight defeat leaves Steve Georgallis’s battlers with forlorn hopes of hauling themselves out of the cellar.
Including 2002, when stripped of 37 competition points for salary cap breaches, it looms as only the third wooden spoon for the once-proud and mighty Canterbury club in 56 years.
And the Bulldogs have only themselves to blame.
Facing a Manly outfit riding their own six-match losing streak, Canterbury led 10-0 on the half-hour mark courtesy of an early Matt Doorey try, Nick Meaney’s conversion and two penalty goals.
But the match soon turned in Manly’s favour, with interchange forward Taniela Paseka, Curtis Sironen, Brad Parker and Jack Gosiewski all scoring tries.
The four-try blitz in 13 minutes either side of half-time had Manly suddenly leading 22-10.
Halfback Lachie Lewis briefly raised hopes of a Bulldogs fightback with a try against the run of play in the 50th minute.
But tries Morgan Harper and Marty Taupau snuffed out the comeback to propel Manly into 10th spot on the ladder, four points adrift of eighth-placed Cronulla.
The Sea Eagles have the faintest of chances of playing finals football, as they need to win their remaining two matches against Gold Coast and the Warriors, and hope the Sharks record heavy defeats in their next three fixtures.