The South Sydney Rabbitohs have shown why they are premiership contenders with a come from behind 22-10 win over the Manly Sea Eagles in front of a record 20,060 crowd at Bluetounge Stadium.
The finals series came early to Bluetongue Stadium with two of the NRL’s top teams taking on each other in Friday night football. The South Sydney Rabbitohs hosted the Manly Sea Eagles in Gosford with all the expectations of the game being a cracker.
The game was boosted with the returns of Greg Inglis and John Sutton for South Sydney and the Sea Eagles were boosted with the early return of Origin star Anthony Watmough
The first half did not disappoint with both sides showing their strength in both attack and defence. The opening to the half began with an early try for the Sea Eagles through captain Jamie Lyon who converted his own try. The early phases of the match weren’t good for the Rabbitohs with Jeff Lima placed on report for a leg twisting tackle on Anthony Watmough.
Souths managed to equalise the scoreboard after Chris McQueen showed his athletic skill to take the ball out of the air and score, after the Conversion scores were all locked up.
The Sea Eagles then managed to score once again through Jorge Taufua and in the process it looked like Greg Inglis had suffered a serious knee injury however luckily for Souths fans he was back playing minutes later.
The second half was an armwrestle for the opening 20 minutes though Manly did cross the line twice only to be rejected by the video referees. The second one will be a talking point for days to come after referee Henry Perenara ruled No Try on a possible Steve Matai try, the replays showed that he scored a try but the evidence was ruled not to be conclusive enough to overturn the decision.
From there on, Adam Reynolds took control of the match for the Rabbitohs with the turning point being a line dropout that managed to find touch.
Souths then managed to score three times through Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt and Dylan Farrell to push the lead out to 22-10.
Manly did look to score in the dying minutes only to have Shayne Hayne pull it back for an obstruction.
The questions of the week will be again focused at the referees with a heavy penalty count that favoured Souths, a controversial video referee call against Manly and two players put on reports for seemingly soft incidents.
The games don’t get any easier next weekend for either side with the Rabbitohs hosting the Bulldogs next Friday night at ANZ Stadium and Manly have the difficult road trip to Canberra.