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The Manly Sea Eagles have won the second golden point game of Round 4, beating the South Sydney Rabbitohs by a point with Daly Cherry-Evans kicking the match-winning field goal.
The win for Manly will be soured though with Tom Trbojevic re-injuring his hamstring early in the second half.
The superstar fullback only returned in last week’s victory over the New Zealand Warriors in Christchurch and was on song early for the Sea Eagles.
On a warm afternoon, both teams struggled for ball handling with the pace of the game high and points hard to come by.
The home side dominated the early exchanges of the contest, putting on the first try after 11 minutes through their fullback as he got through some sloppy defence on the left-hand side.
Manly’s strong start was short-lived though, as Souths hits back with tries to Sam Burgess on the right, and Campbell Graham on the left in the run to halftime.
The Sea Eagles struggled greatly to hold onto the ball during the back end of the first half, but their defence was solid enough to ensure they didn’t fall any more than four points behind.
The Sea Eagles reclaimed the lead 11 minutes into the second half with their second and final try for the afternoon, as the visitors dropped the footy coming out of their own end, allowing Manase Fainu to pounce and run over for the try.
The Rabbitohs then had multiple opportunities to square up the game after the injury to Tom Trbojevic, but a combination of dropped ball and missed penalty goals left them requiring a 71st-minute effort from Adam Reynolds on the sideline to tie things up.
With no more points coming in the game, the Sea Eagles, despite playing a stretch of the contest with just 15 players and making a ridiculous 21 errors, found a way to get the game to golden point.
Adam Reynolds had the first chance to ice the game in the extra period, but missed to the right from 35 metres out.
In the follow-up seven-tackle set, Cherry-Evans made no mistake, as the Rabbitohs fell to their first loss of the season at Brookvale.
Manly Sea Eagles 13
The Manly Sea Eagles will look to build on their impressive showing of seven days ago, but will likely face a tougher challenge when they square off against the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 3pm (AEDT).
Playing with a weak backline and no Tom Trbojevic in the first two weeks, it was hardly a surprise to see the Sea Eagles start their season without a win from two games.
The fact they were able to fight so strongly against the Roosters was a positive, but the way their first half effort ended the game by halftime wasn’t.
They bounced back last week, beating a shocking New Zealand Warriors outfit in Christchurch, running on the highest score of the round and looking crisp in attack for the first time this season.
The Sea Eagles are back at home this week, and while that’ll give them a boost, the pressure will be on them to stop a Rabbitohs side who arguably have been the form side of the competition over the first three rounds.
While they will again play without Greg Inglis this weekend, their forward pack – led by Sam Burgess and Cameron Murray – have been excllent in controlling the middle and creating both time and space for the creative combination of Alex Johnston, Adam Reynolds, Cody Walker and Damien Cook.
If Reynolds can continue playing the way he has been – with his kicking game pin point accurate – it seems there are few teams who will be able to take it to the men from Redfern this season.
If Manly are to be in this game, then it comes down to their forwards, in particular Martin Taupau, leading the way and allowing Daly Cherry-Evans – who was great last week – the same time and space Reynolds has been afforded so far this season.
All in all though, there is a class difference between the two sides, and if the Sea Eagles don’t get off to a good start, it could be a long afternoon on the Northern Beaches.
The Rabbitohs have been in good touch to start the season, and even away from home, this shouldn’t be too much of an ask for them to extend their strong start. Manly were good last week, but this might get a bit ugly.
Rabbitohs by 16.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the Rabbitohs trip to Manly from 3pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Kick-off: 3pm (AEDT)
Venue: Lottoland, Manly
TV: Live, Fox League 502
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, Kayo Sports
Betting: Rabbitohs $1.65, Sea Eagles $2.30
Overall record: Played 141, Sea Eagles 76, Rabbitohs 65
Last meeting: Round 3, 2018 – Rabbitohs 34 defeat Sea Eagles 6 at ANZ Stadium
Last five: Rabbitohs 3, Sea Eagles 2
Record at venue: Played 55, Sea Eagles 33, Rabbitohs 22
Referees: Grant Atkins, Liam Kennedy
Manly Sea Eagles
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, 18. Trent Hodkinson, 19. Lachlan Croker, 20. Kelepi Tanginoa, 21. Taniela Paseka
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Alex Johnston, 2. Corey Allan, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Campbell Graham, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. George Burgess, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. John Sutton, 12. Sam Burgess, 13. Cameron Murray
Interchange: 14. Tevita Tatola, 15. Mark Nicholls, 16. Ethan Lowe, 17. Kyle Turner, 18. Connor Tracey, 19. Bayley Sironen, 20. Rhys Kennedy, 21. Jacob Gagan