Manly Sea Eagles 14 (Blair, Cherry-Evans tries; Lyon goal, 2 penalty goals)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 (Burgess, Champion tries; Reynolds goal, penalty goal)
Manly Sea Eagles have again proven their NRL credentials by upsetting the South Sydney Rabbitohs 14-12 at Central Coast Stadium in front of 15,120 fans.
Missing both the Stewart Brothers, the Sea Eagles could have been excused for dropping off the pace against one of the competition favourites.
However, Manly refused to yield, and were able to find the strength to come over the top of the Rabbitohs,thanks to a David Williams intercept that led to a Jamie Lyon penalty.
Manly started the scoring in just the 7th minute of the game, when Brett Stewart’s replacement Peta Hiku, offloaded the ball in traffic to a sideways moving Steve Matai, who drew in the Rabbitohs’ defenders including winger Nathan Merritt, allowing Cheyse Blair room to plant the ball down in the corner.
Lyon missed the conversion attempt, however extended the lead to 6 in the 33rd minute through a penalty goal.
Manly continued to pepper the Rabbitohs’ line in the first half hour, however the Rabbioths held strong with some solid defence, repelling Manly several times.
The Rabbitohs then took advantage of a piece of ill-discipline from Manly hard man Anthony Watmough, whose swinging arm on Joe Picker saw the South Sydney side gain a piggy back penalty down field.
From the resulting set of six, the men in green and red crossed for their first try when Watmough knocked the ball out of Isaac Luke’s hands at dummy half, only for Sam Burgess to scoop it up and dive over untouched.
Reynolds missed the simple conversion to leave the Rabbitohs trailing by two at half time.
Just ten minutes in to the second half, the Rabbitohs took the lead when Ben Teo passed on the wrap around to Inglis, who in turn slipped the ball to a charging Beau Champion to cross the stripe and give the Rabbitohs a 4 point lead.
Reynolds then kicked the Bunnies to a converted try lead with a penalty goal, before the match see- sawed again, when Jamie Buhrer burst through a hole before drawing and passing to Daly Cherry-Evans to score and lock the game up at 12 apiece.
In the frantic closing twenty minutes of the game, it looked like the Bunnies were set to score, before Williams plucked a short side ball out of the air. David Tyrell was then penalised for a flop on Sea Eagles five eighth Kieran Foran that allowed Lyon to kick Manly to their first win of 2014.