Storm bruised Eagles scalped by Rabbits
South Sydney coach Jason Taylor believes his side’s 40-32 win over high-flying Manly at ANZ Stadium today could be the spark for an improved 2009 for the club.
The Rabbitohs crushed the Sea Eagles with a display of courage and commitment, the home side never giving up despite falling behind the premiership hot shots three times.
“What we can do is look forward to the future and learn that if we can do it week in week out and to compete with a team like Manly the way we did today, that’s really exciting for the club,” Taylor said.
“We’ve just got to learn to do it week in week out, that’s the challenge for us now.
“The disappointing things about the losses that we’ve had in the last few weeks, we really weren’t in the games because the intensity’s just been down.”
Sitting in 13th spot on the ladder, the Bunnies had plenty of reason and opportunity to put up the white flag today.
They could have done it early when Steve Bell crossed after just four minutes following a simple Fetuli Talanoa knock on.
But they hit back when Talanoa made amends to chase down a Chris Sandow kick before Jamie Simpson limbo danced around the corner flag for an 8-4 lead.
Again the Bunnies could have thought this wasn’t to be their day when Brett Stewart raced 90 metres for the first try of his double, but again the home side rallied with Nathan Merritt bagging two of his three tries for the afternoon in the space of two minutes.
Three tries in 13 minutes after halftime, two to Steve Menzies and another to Stewart, and the game looked over as Manly surged to a 26-22 lead, the visitors charging back despite being down to 12 men for the start of the second half with Steve Matai binned for a professional foul.
The game was soon to be over, but not in Manly’s favour as the Bunnies posted three tries in reply, the first two coming off Sandow kicks which couldn’t be cleaned up by the Manly defence.
But as full of praise as Taylor was for his troops he admitted he had a little help from a Melbourne side sitting back in their loungerooms more than a 1000km away, the Rabbitohs mentor claiming the Sea Eagles had struggled to back up after last week’s epic tussle with the Storm.
“That was always a good chance of happening, it was going to be hard for them,” Taylor said.
“Everybody who watched the game last Friday night realised how much Manly put into it, it’s always hard to back up, particularly when you’re playing a team that’s not going to be there at the end.”
While critical of his side’s performance, Manly skipper Matt Orford denied his side struggled with the hangover of last week’s tight loss.
“I’d like to think we’re a better footy club than that,” Orford said.
“I’m not sure what affected us today but something did, we just didn’t turn up with the right mindset.”
Coach Des Hasler said losing touch in the race for the minor premiership was not a concern.
“We’ve just got to think about next week to tell you the truth, I’m not too concerned,” Hasler said.
“We’ve just got to turn this around … we’ll be okay.”© AAP 2013
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