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Canterbury Bulldogs beat Manly Sea Eagles 18-17 in NRL

Trent Hodkinson scored Canterbury Bulldogs' golden point to earn a thrilling 18-17 win over Manly Sea Eagles in the NRL preliminary final.

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The Bulldogs raced into a 16-0 first-half lead before inviting Manly back into the contest by lowering their intensity at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

The Sea Eagles drew level just past the hour mark, scoring the match leveller via a terrible error from Mick Ennis.

With Reni Maitua in the bin for throwing a punch after the try, Manly looked capable of completing the job from there.

But then came another twist in an incredible game. A Josh Reynolds grubber kick struck referee Gerard Sutton and he ordered a scrum with the feed going Canterbury's way.

From that set, Hodkinson nailed a field goal to put the Bulldogs up 17-16, only for Daly Cherry-Evans to add a one-pointer of his own to send it to extra time.

The final twist was delivered when Hodkinson kicked his second field goal of the game from 30 metres to win the match with 88 seconds left in the first half of the additional period.

Canterbury face Penrith in the second preliminary final next Saturday.

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