NRL & NYC Previews - Rd 22, 2014

Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Friday 8 August, SCG
7:45pm – NRL Kick Off

With just five rounds of the regular season remaining, a top of the table blockbuster at the business end of the year is a tantalising prospect – particularly when the two combatanta happen to be the Sea Eagles, and the Rabbitohs.

But while history won’t be on the minds of the players who step out onto the holy turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday night, for those in the stands, sparing a moment to think about just how many famous – or infamous – Souths and Manly battles have occurred on that pitch is almost obligatory. From the 1951 landslide, to the jaw-dropping infamy of 1970, and the semi-final battle of 1984, the Rabbitohs and the Sea Eagles have painted the SCG in their colours as well as their own blood.

The Rabbitohs have named a similar side to the one who accounted for the Newcastle Knights in Cairns on Sunday, with the notable inclusions of Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o bolstering what has become a well-balanced and potent South Sydney outfit that has won now won three games on the trot.

Despite the Manly-Warringah side coming into the match four points clear at the top of the table, working in the Rabbitohs’ favour is their superior for and against. South Sydney boast the best defence in the NRL, and sit only two points behind the New Zealand Warriors when it comes to points scored.

 

Get your tickets to Friday night’s top of the table blockbuster at the SCG by clicking here.

 

The second placed Rabbitohs have in fact managed to score 42 points more than their much-fancied rivals in total this year, thanks to a combination of the organising brilliance of halves Adam Reynolds, John Sutton and Luke Keary, and the scintillating form of finishers such as Alex Johnston.

Rabbitohs Head Coach Michal Maguire though insists that this Friday night will be all about focus for his side.

“It’s going to be one of those games,” said Maguire.

“It’s a great game that we’re looking forward to. Manly have been setting the pace for quite some time in the competition and it gives us another opportunity to perform and do the things we’ve been doing over the last three weeks.”

“It’s down to moments in the game that your concentration’s got to be up. Manly have been doing it for quite a long time now – we have too in some respect over the last couple of years.

“So we’re getting better at our game, and the personnel we’ve got in the team are getting stronger at those things that we’ve been practicing.

“Really it’s about staying in the game and staying in the moment and really concentrating, so it’s going to be one of those great games.”

To see the full interview with Michael Maguire, please click here.

 

Last Time They Met

The South Sydney Rabbitohs went down to the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in a tough encounter at Gosford in round two of the 2014 competition – the last time the two sides met.

In a performance that bore little resemblance to the side’s opening round effort against the Roosters, Manly held on to take the game and the two competition points with a Jamie Lyon penalty-goal the difference.

The Rabbitohs went on the attack early after some brilliant defence on the first tackle saw Manly spill the ball, much to the appreciation of Souths fans. But with the red and greens pushing the ball wide to take advantage of an overlap, the ball hit the turf before being reclaimed by the Sea Eagles.

A penalty to Manly deep in their own half allowed Daly Cherry Evans  to boot the ball within striking distance, with Cheyse Blair capitalising for the home-side out wide with a four-pointer. Jamie Lyon missed the conversion to make it 4-0 in the Sea Eagles’ favour.

The Rabbitohs enjoyed a number of opportunities on the Manly try-line, but came up short on all occasions – the home-side thwarting each attacking raid early in the tackle-count.

Manly came close to scoring again just over half-way through the first period – the video-referee denying Jamie Lyon a four-pointer for a knock-on from a Kieran Foran kick.

A penalty to the Sea Eagles within kicking distance gave Jamie Lyon the opportunity to get his side two points further ahead, with the skipper calmly adding the points from close-range to make it 6-0 with just under six minutes remaining in the first half.

But a penalty to Souths after an Anthony Watmough swinging arm on Bryson Goodwin put the Rabbitohs squarely back in the match. Sam Burgess burst through the maroon and white line from inside five metres to score the sides opening try of the match. Adam Reynolds’ conversion attempt hit the upright, taking the sides into the sheds with Manly leading 6-4.

The Rabbitohs were the first to score after half-time when Beau Champion broke through the Manly line on the back of a slick back-line movement. Reynolds atoned for his earlier miss by converting from out wide for the Rabbitohs to take the lead 10-6. Reynolds would get the opportunity to give the red and greens a six point buffer shortly afterward with a penalty goal from right in front.

Issac Luke tried to assert his authority on the Manly attack when the Kiwi international put a massive hit on Sea Eagles winger Blair – the winger taking the full brunt of Luke’s fury.

But it was Manly who did the asserting when Jamie Buhrer broke through before drawing Greg Inglis and passing to Daly Cherry-Evans who scored under the sticks to make it 12 apiece with Lyon’s conversion.

With the clock winding down and the threat of golden point looming, both sides traded attempts at field-goal with Reynolds missing the Rabbitohs’ attempt from 30 metres out.

At four minutes left, the Sea Eagles turned defence into attack by intercepting a pass on a promising Rabbitohs raid. The Sea Eagles were chased down, but it got worse for the red and greens, being penalised for holding down, allowing Jamie Lyon a penalty goal to take the lead.

Souths got the ball back from the ensuing kick-off and looked to score through Joe Picker, but the video referee disagreed, ending the match at 14-12.

 

Get your tickets to Friday night’s top of the table blockbuster at the SCG by clicking here.

 

Matchups

 

Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Friday 8 August, SCG
5:30pm- Holden Cup Kick Off

It’s 10th versus 11th this Friday night at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the NYC when Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles come up against the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NYC side.

Both teams are coming off losses in round 21, with the Rabbitohs last week containing the first-placed Newcastle Knights to a brave 32-18 point score-line after leading 12-4 early on in the match.

A strong showing from lock-forward, Cheyne Whitelaw, including two four-pointers from the young-gun, was among a number of highlights played out at Redfern Oval last Saturday.

Amazingly, both the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles currently hold the same points differential of -60 after 22 rounds. The Sea Eagles have managed to score plenty of points (508), but have also leaked plenty as well (568), while the Rabbitohs have managed to leak – a modest by comparison – 498.

Defensively, the Rabbitohs could be at an advantage come Friday night, but defence won’t be enough to knock over the tenth-placed Sea Eagles.

Look to Rabbitohs halves, Brad Wall and Jordie Hedges, as well as Wallace Tangiiti, to step up and create opportunities across the park, with players such as Devon Makoare-Boyce and Australian Schoolboy, Tevita Cottrell providing plenty of finishing power.

 

Get your tickets to Friday night’s top of the table blockbuster at the SCG by clicking here.