South Sydney broke a four game losing streak, beating Manly-Warringah 21-20 at ANZ Stadium.
Denied a try after 15 minutes, Souths were rewarded with first points through an Adam Reynolds penalty goal.
Manly scored the first try a few minutes later through Cade Cust, though it was odd that wasn’t sent to the Bunker due to a Moses Suli knock on. It gave Manly a 6-2 lead.
Dean Britt scored his first NRL try shortly after, giving Souths an 8-6 lead. The try was preceded by a massive hit from Jorge Taufau, surely a contention for one of year’s biggest hits.
Dane Gagai showed some amazing athleticism to extend Souths’ lead just before halftime, taking a long pass from Reynolds on the right corner and stretching out with his right hand. A try machine for Queensland, he was good enough to stay in play to ground the ball.
Some strong Souths defence earned a drop out, leading to a Campbell Graham try and a dominant 18-6 halftime lead.
Curtis Sironen opened the second half scoring, with a close-range try off a perfect short ball from Daly Cherry-Evans, closing the gap to 18-10.
Moses Suli had an 80 metre solo run after a loose Damien Cook pass to reduce the margin to 18-14. While there were doubts over a Suli knock on, the Bunker ruled it a knock back.
Souths earned a reprieve with a Reynolds penalty goal stretching Souths’ lead to 20-14.
Cade Cust was denied Manly’s go-ahead try with a knock on, though Dane Gagai stripped it out and Cust was deemed to lose control before the line.
Manlys’ continued pressure paid off with a try to Joel Thompson off a nice kick from Cherry-Evans, with the Garrick conversion levelling the scores at 20-20.
Souths benefited from a Manly mistake in attacking territory, with Reynolds coolly slotting the field goal for a 21-20 lead.
With Manly trying to march upfield, an errant pass from Cherry-Evans was recovered by Souths, sealing the game.
It was the second one-point result between the teams this year, with Manly winning 13-12 in round four at Brookvale.
Kicking Proves the Difference
With a relatively even try tally, goalkicking was always going to be crucial. Souths’ Adam Reynolds kicked 4/5, and the game-winning field goal at 20-20, while Manly’s Reuben Garrick kicked 2/4. Two misses early in the second half from Garrick, with Manly closing a 12-point halftime deficit, meant they still trailed by four instead of tying the game at 18-18.
Souths’ Perfect Half
Completing your sets is key in limited-tackle football, and Souths had a perfect first half, with 19/19 completions and just one penalty conceded. They were rewarded with tries to Dean Britt, Dane Gagai and Campbell Graham for an 18-6 halftime lead. Conversely, some second half errors let Manly back into the game.
Big Outs for Both Teams
A couple of key omissions for both teams, with Sam Burgess – named to return this week – missing after an infection from his shoulder surgery. It was a huge blow for Souths, who had lost their last four games. Manly rested Tom Trbojevic after Origin III, though brother Jake backed up.
Top Four Hopes on the Line
Today’s game had a big impact on the top four and the vital September double chance. Souths’ win momentarily put them ahead of the Sydney Roosters in second place. Manly blew a chance to leapfrog Canberra in fourth spot. The Raiders have a chance to consolidate their top four spot against St. George-Illawarra tomorrow night.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 21
Tries: Dean Britt, Dane Gagai, Campbell Graham
Goals: Adam Reynolds 4/5
Drop Goals: Reynolds 1/1
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 20
Tries: Cade Cust, Curtis Sironen, Moses Suli, Joel Thompson
Goals: Reuben Garrick 2/4
Drop Goals: n/a
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. Dane Gagai 3. James Roberts 4. Braidon Burns 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Liam Knight 11. John Sutton 16. Dean Britt 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 17. Kyle Turner 18. Jayden Su’a 20. Tom Amone 23. Bayley Sironen.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles: 14. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Manase Fainu 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 15. Corey Waddell 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Lachlan Croker