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2021 NRL Preliminary Finals, Rabbitohs 36 Sea Eagles 16 – Report

Jack Harbidge reviews the preliminary final between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium….. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Rabbitohs 36

Tries: Cody Walker (12, 28), Alex Johnston (22, 79), Jaxson Paulo (37, 59), Campbell Graham (50)

Goals: Blake Taaffe (13, 23, 30, 51)

Sea Eagles 16

Tries: Reuben Garrick (43, 76), Tom Trbojevic (73)

Goals: Reuben Garrick (44, 77)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
2 pts – Cam Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
1 pt – Reuben Garrick (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Souths opened the stronger of the two sides early on, having gained the ascendency after jumping on an early error from Sean Keppie, but were repelled by an aggressive Manly defence. Souths got on the scoreboard soon after, with Dane Gagai creating a chance from a kick that ricocheted off players on the Manly line for Cody Walker to pick up and dive over for the first try of the game. Manly answered back swiftly down the right edge and, having stripped Souths for numbers, were only denied by covering Rabbitohs defenders who ragged Jason Saab into touch. The Sea Eagles got over the whitewash soon after though, only to be denied by the Bunker with an obstruction call on the lead runner of their shape down the left edge.

The Rabbitohs took advantage of the reprieve and pressed the Manly line and scored down their left edge through Alex Johnston. The try seemed only to invigorate the Manly side, who forced an error on the ensuing set from Souths and broke down the right edge soon after for Tom Trbojevic to get over the whitewash. Ashley Klein awarded the try, but after further review the Manly fullback was adjudged to have lost the ball in the act of scoring.

The Rabbitohs backed up their second try against the run of play with another score through Walker, who went over off the back of an exquisite grubber back towards the posts from Damien Cook on the left edge. The scoring didn’t stop there either and, despite Manly’s defensive efforts, South Sydney further extended their lead with Jaxson Paulo going over down the right wing just three minutes from half-time.

HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 0

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2nd Half

The second half began in stark contrast to the first as Manly started fast to score through Reuben Garrick, who crossed down the left wing off the back of a deft no-look pass from Josh Schuster. The revised 16-point margin (after Garrick converted his try) didn’t last long however, with the Rabbitohs making the most of a Morgan Harper error and scoring in the ensuing set through Campbell Graham. The two sides traded sets for the best part of the next 10 minutes before Paulo gathered a high bomb from Adam Reynolds and backpedalled it over the line to extend his side’s lead further.

The second part of the second half was characterised by errors, with both sides trading them while Manly struggled to eat into Souths’ 26-point lead. It took until the 74th minute for Manly to get on the board through their star fullback Tom Trbojevic. The consolation try was soon followed by another for Garrick, who made the most of Moses Suli’s break off the back of a scrum play to score down the left edge. The score, and the conversion that followed, was soon somewhat cancelled out by Johnston just before the full-time whistle, leaving the South Sydney Rabbitohs running out 36-16 winners.

FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 16

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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