The South Sydney Rabbitohs went down to the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22 points to 16 in their first full trial match for the 2017 season despite a comeback in the second half at Campbelltown Sports Stadium tonight (Saturday).
There was no clear cut chance by either team in the first seven minutes of play except for a Blake Green attacking grubber which was handled well by Siosifa Talakai.
Wearing the red and green jersey for the first time, Robbie Farah was the first over the line running on the last tackle but lost the ball in goal denying himself his first Souths try.
It was level across the field for the next few sets but Manly would add the first points for the night through a try to Jarrad Kennedy. It came from a Brian Kelly flick pass that saw Dylan Walker run parallel to the Souths line before finding Kennedy running at a gap in the defensive line. Walker converted to take the Sea Eagles 6 points clear.
The Rabbitohs had a second chance at the try line when Farah lofted a cut out ball to Tautalatasi Tasi on the far left side of the field but the ball was held up in goal.
Manly added to their lead when Jorge Taufua picked up a cross field kick and passed it off to Johnathan Wright who scored a try in the far left corner. Dylan Walker added two more points bringing the Sea Eagles up 12 points to nil.
A kick from Farah in dummy half almost trapped Tom Trbojevic in goal but Tyrell Fuimaono conceded the penalty trying to drag Trbojevic back in goal. This saw Manly head up the other end of the field to once again attack the Souths line.
Tasi was safe under a cross field bomb from Manly but was tackled in the air and drew a penalty. Rabbitohs kicked for touch and restarted from the 15m but couldn’t add to the scoreboard for the first half.
The Sea Eagles would end the first half leading 12 points to nil. The Rabbitohs produced some strong individual performances, particularly in Farah, Jennings, Talakai and Clark, and were threatening on occasion but were needing to string their play together more cohesively to produce results.
Despite some solid defence in the opening minutes of the second half, Manly found a gap and scored their third try for the night through Walker. Manly would find themselves at 16-0 early in the second half.
Hitting back, the Rabbitohs made a clean shift to the right in attack which saw Luke Kelly shift the ball to Talakai who made space on the right before offloading the ball to Sitiveni Moceidreke who dived over the try line in the far right corner. Levido would miss the conversion attempt. Souths 4 – 16 Manly.
The Rabbitohs would drag themselves to one converted try away from Manly when Luke Kelly kicked a nicely placed grubber that deflected off a Manly defender and was picked up well by Talakai who went over the line. Levido converted and the score became Souths 10 – 16 Manly.
Manly extended their lead with another converted try at the end of the third quarter. Parata would find himself on the end of a nicely placed attacking grubber and finished easily. Walker converted and the Sea Eagles pushed the score out to 22 to 10.
The fourth quarter would see the Rabbitohs add the last points for the night with a try to Ed Murphy and successful conversion kicked by Adam Doueihi.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 22 (Jarrad Kennedy 1, Jonathan Wright 1, Dylan Walker 1, Dean Parata 1 try; Dylan Walker 3 goals)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 (Sitiveni Moceidreke 1, Siosifa Talakai 1, Ed Murphy 1 try; Eli Levido 1, Adam Doueihi 1 goal)