The South Sydney Rabbitohs have held on to take victory against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles by 16-12 at Brookvale Oval despite a spirited revival from the home-side.
After leading 16-0 early in the match, a try to the Sea Eagles was all that was required to spark the maroon and whites into action, with the Rabbitohs having to do a mountain of defence as a result for the rest of the match – the side holding on to win.
The Rabbitohs rolled the dice early on the back of some enthusiastic running form the forwards, with Chris Grevsmuhl breaking through before being pulled down, but not before pummelling Brett Stewart in the process. Souths would ultimately finish the set empty handed, but their intentions were made clear.
A Sea Eagles drop-ball coupled with a penalty to the Rabbitohs shortly afterwards saw Souths take first points courtesy of Cameron McInnes, who darted sneakily from dummy-half to open the scoring. Cody Walker added the extras from short-range to give the Rabbitohs an early 6-0 lead.
McInnes would have another bite though not long afterwards, this time from further away – the hooker again going in search of a try from dummy-half and coming up trumps to notch up the Club’s 35,000th point in Premiership history since 1908. Walker was unable to convert leaving the score at 10-0.
Souths seemed to be forcing repeat sets at will, and with the Sea Eagles noticeably tiring inside the first 15 minutes, Walker sliced through when he went on the attack and with his conversion, the Rabbitohs were in a commanding 16-0 lead.
Manly would get a glimmer of hope when their ensuing kick-off was allowed to lay on the ground for far too long, giving the home-side enough time to swoop on the Rabbitohs before pushing them back into the in-goal on just the second tackle to force a goal-line drop-out.
Souths would defend strongly to hold the Sea Eagles at bay, showing great patience to eventually get a 20 metre restart to release the pressure valve.
But a bizarre penalty against the Rabbitohs deep in Manly territory for a bungled Sea Eagles play-the-ball, led to Manly marching up-field with plenty of energy. Dylan Walker would eventually grab a try on the back of the roll-on with Jamie Lyon booting the extras to make the score 16-6 in favour of Souths.
The try would spark a revival from the home-side that would see the Rabbitohs pinned onto their own try-line. With just minutes until half-time – whether by design or misfortune – Souths leaked numerous penalties that served to disarm and stagnate Manly’s attack as the Sea Eagles threw everything they had at the men in Red and Green to no avail.
The teams would go to the sheds following the explosive first half with Souths leading 16-6.
On the resumption, Manly continued to gain strength and despite Souths keeping the home-side out for some 20 minutes, Apisai Koroisau, sliced through from 15 metres out to score under the posts – Lyon adding the extras to make it a four-point ball-game at 16-12 in favour of the Rabbitohs.
But that would be all for the scoring, with he Rabbitohs holding on to take the victory despite the Sea Eagles having the ascendency.
Rabbitohs 16 (Cameron McInnes 2, Cody Walker, tries; Cody Walker 2 goals)
Sea Eagles 12 (Dylan Walker, Apisai Koroisau, tries; Jamie Lyon 2 goals)