Jack Harbidge reviews the round 15 clash between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium. Here’s how the game went.
|8th||Try Steven Marsters (South Sydney)||South Sydney 4-0|
|9th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 6-0|
|10th||Try Alex Johnston (South Sydney)||South Sydney 10-0|
|12th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 12-0|
|14th||Try Alex Johnston (South Sydney)||South Sydney 16-0|
|14th||Tevita Vuna (Manly Warringah) – SIN BIN||South Sydney 16-0|
|15th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 18-0|
|15th||Penalty Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 20-0|
|18th||Try Campbell Graham (South Sydney)||South Sydney 24-0|
|19th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 26-0|
|33rd||Try Campbell Graham (South Sydney)||South Sydney 30-0|
|34th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 32-0|
|37th||Try Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney)||South Sydney 36-0|
|38th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 38-0|
|50th||Try Jack Gosiewski (Manly Warringah)||South Sydney 38-4|
|61st||Try Reuben Garrick (Manly Warringah)||South Sydney 38-8|
|62nd||Goal Reuben Garrick (Manly Warringah)||South Sydney 38-10|
|67th||Try Tevita Tatola (South Sydney)||South Sydney 42-10|
|68th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 44-10|
|72nd||Try Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney)||South Sydney 48-10|
|73rd||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 50-10|
|75th||Try Cameron Murray (South Sydney)||South Sydney 54-10|
|75th||Goal Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney)||South Sydney 56-10|
|78th||Try Reuben Garrick (Manly Warringah)||South Sydney 56-14|
|79th||Goal Reuben Garrick (Manly Warringah)||South Sydney 56-16|
Despite both sides missing key players, the teams opened the game with great intensity and matched each other for the best part of the opening 10 minutes, before Jake Trbojevic made a soon-to-be costly error in the eighth minute of play. Souths capitalised and Steven Marsters provided a fine finish in the right hand corner to open the scoring for the Rabbitohs with his first try in the NRL.
From then on, the floodgates seemingly opened as the Rabbitohs went the length of the pitch off the kick off with some classy ball-playing rugby for Alex Johnston to cross on the left edge. With both conversions from the touchline, Adam Reynolds put on an exhibition and slotted them with ease to put Souths 12-0 up just 12 minutes in.
Things didn’t get any easy for Manly and, after conceding multiple set restarts, they conceded another try from Alex Johnston on the left edge. This time, however, Tevita Vuna managed to get within reach of Johnston over the line and mistakenly made contact with the Souths player’s head to ultimately concede an eight-point try and be sent from the field for 10 minutes. With Souths scoring at over a point a minute, Manly tried to wrestle the game back in their favour, but still failed to contain the rampant Souths attacking shape that saw Campbell Graham cross to extend their lead to 24-0 with just under 20 minutes of the half played.
The Sea Eagles managed to survive the rest of the sin-bin period without conceding, and with Vuna back on the field they managed to get back into the game for the ensuing 10-minute period. When provided with a guilt-edged opportunity off the back of a line break with just under 10 minutes to go, Manly knocked on and invited yet more punishment from Souths.
Souths obliged off the back of a forced set restart and Campbell Graham completed a back-to-back double in just over 15 minutes, putting Souths 32-0 up going into half time after a faultless kicking display from Reynolds. His try, however, wouldn’t be their last of the half and Vuna’s day got decidedly worse when he threw an offload just ten metres from his own line for Latrell Mitchell to stroll over for a try just on the stroke of half time.
Things looked to have got off to a similar start in the second half with Vuna conceding another high tackle penalty and inviting pressure onto the Manly line – off the back of which the Bunnies forced a goal line drop out. In stark contrast to the first half, however, the Sea Eagles’ defence remained resolute and they held Souths out. Encouraged by the positive effort, Manly stuck with Souths and went one better to open the scoring in the second half through former Souths under-20s player Jack Gosiewski.
Manly continued to push back and, off the back of a good bit of possession, scored with a seemingly poorly marked Reuben Garrick collecting a pinpoint Daly Cherry-Evans cross-field kick to race under the sticks. Following Garrick converting his own try, the Bunnies’ lead was cut to 28 as Manly edged back into the game a little further.
Their ascendancy didn’t last long though and – off the back of two set restarts – Tevita Tatola cracked the Sea Eagles’ defence from short range. After a Reynolds conversion, Souths had restored their 32-point lead. Reynolds didn’t just excel off the tee though, and later on produced a kick destined for a 40/20 that forced Jorge Taufua to erroneously put the ball out past his own 20 metre line, putting Souths in scoring territory again.
Souths continued to pile on the pressure after Reynolds’ kick despite being so far ahead, forcing a Vuna error for a goal line drop out from which Mark Nicholls gifted Mitchell a try with an unplayable offload near the line. Souths didn’t stop there however, stealing the ball in the ensuing set for Cody Walker to set Cameron Murray up for a try off a deft kick, before Garrick scored a consolation try with the final play of the game in what was a historic win for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
It’s well known that Adam Reynolds is a top class goal kicker, especially when it comes to efforts from the sideline – but his display this Saturday night was exceptional. Reynolds’ conversion kicking was an exhibition, kicking at 100% for the whole game and, while Souths were dominant, not all of his conversions were from comfortable positions. In fact, five of Reynolds’ conversions were from – or very close to – the touchline. Going 100% with five from the touchline is undoubtedly an impressive feat, but Reynolds’ didn’t just provide an exhibition off the tee; he also all but kicked a 40/20 alongside an impressive and well-controlled short kicking game.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 22. Steven Marsters 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Keaon Koloamatangi 16. Patrick Mago 21. Kurt Dillon.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Tevita Funa 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Danny Levi 21. Addin Fonua-Blake 15. Corey Waddell 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 10. Martin Taupau 14. Lachlan Croker 16. Sean Keppie 20. Jack Gosiewski.