The Rabbitohs' defence was sublime and their second half attack equally as impressive as they won the physical and mental battle over one of their arch rivals tonight.
The first 40 minutes was like two heavyweight fighters trading blows for the world title belt, with neither side giving the other an inch.
Issac Luke and Sam Burgess led the Rabbitohs' defensive effort, Issac with his workload and Burgess with his aggression.
Greg Inglis looked threatening every time he touched the ball, to the point where the best way to stop him was to pick him up into a dangerous position, as Manly's Richie Fa'aoso and Jason King did on two seperate occasions in the first half.
Manly were under pressure for much of the half with ill-discipline hurting them, giving away penalties in their end of the field and turning the ball over on three consecutive sets of six.
But the Rabbitohs could not breach the Manly line, and neither could Manly breach South Sydney's brick wall, especially close to their goal line.
Both sides came close to scoring tries, but it wasn't to be for either team.
The difference on the scoreboard at half time was an Adam Reynolds 25th minute penalty goal, kicked from in front, 38 metres out from the Manly line.
Two Manly players were placed on report in the first half, with Fa'aoso on report for the lifting tackle on Inglis in the 19th minute and Brett Stewart for lifting an elbow/forearm into the face of Andrew Everingham behind play in the 29th minute.
The shot out of the blocks in the second half, registering the first points of the half in the first minute of the half.
It was the man who is fast becoming the most dangerous man in the NRL, Greg Inglis, who would score the points, after hitting a hole created by his five-eighth John Sutton. Inglis would bump off one defender and trample over Brett Stewart on his way to the left hand corner. Reynolds converted from the eastern touchline to establish an eight-nil lead.
Three minutes later Fa'aoso would find himself on report, again, after lifting Inglis and dropping him on his head, again.
That would give the Rabbitohs great field position and another scoring opportunity, and this time it was Sutton who would stroll over in the 46th minute. Reynolds converted from a position adjacent to the posts to extend the lead to 14.
Shortly after, George Burgess would take the ball up, being collected by a swinging high shot from Manly centre Steve Matai. Push and shove after the tackle led to George's big brother Sam throwing a flurry of punches against numerous maroon opponents, and Matai would become the third Manly player to be put on report for the match.
It was at this point that the Rabbitohs would take the next step in development. The Sea Eagles lost their cool, and couldn't get it back.
The Rabbitohs, however, rediscovered their cool heads, and went on to show enormous discipline as the game got more spiteful, and went on to post more points.
Those points came through centre Beau Champion, who made the most of a clever tap back by Andrew Everingham of a Reynolds bomb to score in the right corner. Reynolds made easy work of the difficuly conversion and extended the lead to 20-nil.
Manly got their groove back after 60 minutes and post two tries through Anthony Watmough in the 62nd minute and Daly Cherry-Evans in the 72nd minute. Jamie Lyon converted both tries to reduce the deficit to eight.
The Rabbitohs seemed to be in a slump and Manly were gaining confidence, but the Sea Eagles seemed to lose direction and panic as they were forced to play some catch up football.
David 'Wolfman' Williams, under a big full moon over the eastern hill, knocked on over the line in the 75th minute, and prop forward Brent Kite put in an unusual grubber kick which flew over the dead ball line.
The Rabbitohs held out the Sea Eagles and recorded a well-fought out 20 points to 12 victory over their rivals from the northern beaches.
The Rabbitohs defence was sublime for about 65 minutes of this game. Special mention needs to go centre Bryson Goodwin who nullified Jamie Lyon all night, as well as John Sutton who defended strongly and played a hand in most of the Rabbitohs' scoring opportunities.
The Rabbitohs will now prepare to take on the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in seven days time.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 (Greg Inglis, John Sutton, Beau Champion tries; Adam Reynolds 4 goals)
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 12 (Anthony Watmough, Daly Cherry-Evans tries; Jamie Lyon 2 goals)