Compared to both of our games against the Bulldogs last year our overall performance was more composed, disciplined, more sharp and direct plus we maintained the intensity for longer periods. The squad this year has the right balance of size and speed, fitness levels are better players are sharper, better forward rotation, more effort in defence to flood numbers around the ball(which is mainly all about a better attitude but improved fitness/depth and mobility levels also help in this regard) and our attack is improving but still a long way to go in this department. The no mistake sharp directness of our go forward combined with high line speed defence in the Doggies own half in the early exchanges did not let up and when we finally had a set in the red zone we scored early. The first try was nothing special and mainly due to the lack of line speed of the Dogs outside backs shutting off the play. What also created the first try was the beautiful one motion catch and pass from DCE to Foran which saved 0.3/0.5sec in delivery time catching the outside Bulldogs defence a few metres short of where they should have been. This allowed Brett time to have few steps to hold the defensive line in giving more space for the overlap when he eventually passes. Loved the shorter pass to DCE from Ballin which keeps DCE more central when he is ball playing which encourages him to pass early and direct without cramping his outside options. Foran has more freedom to venture in the middle or right side, there was the occasional glimpse last year but this year you can see it has been encouraged more at training in the pre season. I'm actually liking the added hole running option and more simple hard tough running lines of Symonds on the right edge off DCE, it is sharper more direct and is less about finesse. To me at times G.Stewart is over ball playing and good defences are either just over sliding flooding and defending in numbers off his outside hip or we go through too many hands and not direct enough allowing defences to rush up early. Let's not forget that G.Stewart is part of the forwards and has to run sometimes as a yardage gainer or even as a strong running outside back rower and he is not doing this enough in my opinion to threaten the defence on that side, Symonds is offering this change and it is nice to see. I'm not saying we should not pick G.Stewart but I think he has to start running some hard straight lines occasionally to mix things up. G.Stewart does have good mobility and size and can bust through tackles just needs to ease back a little on the ball playing every now and then. The great part of the game is we scored early and from that point on we controlled the game. The Bulldogs started to feel under pressure coughing up the ball at regular intervals after the try( I think 3 or 4 times) but the worst part of our performance was this period in the red zone also. We should have finished off the Dogs with another try during this period but lacked patience, composure and good attacking structures when it counted. I know in the modern game teams don't waste as much time with settles up the middle or a few jabs in attack before launching one big play but at times we go for the big play too early. At times hitting early in the tackle count is great and some settles during oldschool games of league I felt were just wasted tackles due to lacking any ideas. Manly though are still striving for the right mix of early attack and composed well thought out attack that can sustain pressure throughout the entire set. More science and thought with our attack is required too often we don't sustain enough pressure in our attacking sets coughing up the ball way too early when a little composure and patience is all that was required and the defence would have wilted.