Manly shocked the unbeaten South Sydney on Saturday afternoon, winning 13-12 off a Daly Cherry-Evans Golden Point field goal.
Manly dominated early, with Tom Trbojevic scoring in the 12th minute. Sam Burgess tied the scores at 6-6 off a Cody Walker pass. Walker assisted again, with Graham scoring to give Souths a 10-6 lead at halftime.
Manly’s second half started off disastrously, when star fullback Tom Trbojevic pulled up on the kick return for the Sea Eagles’ first attacking set of the half. The loss of the turbo boost at the back was not the only loss for the Sea Eagles, who also lost Martin Taupau temporarily to a crusher-like tackle and Api Koroisau to a wrist injury. While both of those players made it back on the field in the second (Taupau impressively picked up where he left off), Corey Waddell didn’t return from a HIA assessment just before half time.
Manly regained the lead 12-10 after Graham dropped the ball on the first hit up of an attacking set, and Manly interchange hooker Manase Fainu swooped and scored. After a few earlier misses, Adam Reynolds levelled the score with eight minutes left. A field goal attempt in Golden Point hit the goal posts before Cherry-Evans’ sweetly-timed field goal in the 85th minute sealed it for Manly.
Tom Trbojevic’s Injury Concern
The Manly fullback picked up where he left off against the Warriors last weekend, scoring and looking dangerous.
His injury came as he returned the kick for Manly’s first set of the second half, a small jink right causing him to pull up instantly in pain before the Souths defence had even reached him.
A real shame for him, the club and NSW, as based on his first 121 minutes of NRL this season he may have given James Tedesco a run for the Blues’ number 1 jersey.
According to guru of NRL injuries, Twitter’s NRL Physio, Tom Trbojevic could be looking at 6-10 weeks out, which would rule him out of most of the State of Origin series.
DCE wins the battle of the boot
Daly Cherry-Evans may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but few could argue his quality at the end of tight games in the NRL.
Where Reynolds was having an off day with the kicking tee – and Souths’ kicking game wasn’t great – Cherry Evans coolly slotted both his conversions, and his game-winning field goal was one the sweetest strikes you’ll see this year.
Not that he was perfect, with his first attempt in regular time missing, but when it counted he got the job done. Another positive performance after a very good hitout last weekend in New Zealand. The battle for Maroons halfback may get interesting in the coming weeks.
The Good, Bad and Ugly of the Burgess Brothers
South Sydney have been blessed with the Burgess brothers, and they were at the heart of breaking the Rabbitohs’ long premiership drought.
There’s always a worry that either a drop ball or the occasional brain snap is just around the corner. Whilst the latter didn’t happen today, the errors remain, and every hit up by the Burgess twins late in the game held a little apprehension for Rabbitohs fans.
Errors aside, they still had quite the impact at Brookvale on Saturday; Sam Burgess’ move to the right side brought fresh worries for opposition defences. The twins’ work up the middle can still be as ferocious as ever, as Corey Waddell found out. Their defence can still hurt too.
You always take the good with the bad in sport and life, and the good from Tom, George and Sam still far outweighs the bad.
Cody Walker proves there’s plenty of talent to go around
After providing the final pass for both of Souths’ tries today, and generally being a worry for the Sea Eagles in attack, Cody Walker continued his excellent start to 2019. Even if some of the non-rugby league stuff has not been to everyone’s taste.
But the Cody Walker story is an interesting one. He spent many seasons playing in either the Queensland or NSW Cups, after getting a taste of rugby league with the Titans under 20s team in 2009 and 2010.
After finally getting an NRL debut with Souths in 2016 (at 26), he has gone on to be one of the most important players for the Rabbitohs.
His story is just one of the lucky ones. With these experienced players adapting straight away, it does make you wonder just how many similar stories are waiting to be unlocked. Currently with the lucrative player payment, players are rightfully playing for as long as they can, but it does mean fewer chances for everyone, especially potential new Cody Walkers.
Tries: Tom Trbojevic, Manase Fainu
Goals: Cherry-Evans 2/2
Drop Goals: Cherry-Evans 1/2
South Sydney 12
Tries: Sam Burgess, Campbell Graham
Goals: Adam Reynolds 2/5
Drop Goals: Reynolds 0/2
Manly-Warringah: 1 Tom Trbojevic 2 Jorge Taufua 3 Brendan Elliot 4 Brad Parker 5 Reuben Garrick 6 Kane Elgey 7 Daly Cherry-Evans 8 Addin Fonua-Blake 9 Apisai Koroisau 10 Martin Taupau 11 Joel Thompson 12 Curtis Sironen 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14 Manase Fainu 15 Jack Gosiewski 16 Corey Waddell 17 Toafofoa Sipley
South Sydney: 1 Alex Johnston 2 Corey Allan 21 Jacob Gagan 4 Dane Gagai 5 Campbell Graham 6 Cody Walker 7 Adam Reynolds 14 Tevita Tatola 9 Damien Cook 10 Tom Burgess 11 John Sutton 12 Sam Burgess 13 Cameron Murray.
Interchange: 8 George Burgess 15 Mark Nicholls 16 Ethan Lowe 17 Kyle Turner