Round One got underway on a beautiful day at Brookva… Sorry, Lottoland… as the junior Rabbitohs looked to bounce back from a dramatic two point loss to the Wests Tigers in Round One. However, the Sea Eagles would prove too difficult for the young Rabbitohs to handle as they ran out 52-20 winners.
Things went the way of the boys in Red & Green early as a series of penalties from the Sea Eagles saw us get the best attacking opportunity of the opening sets. However, Manly rallied in defence and stopped several clear chances from converting to points.
The Rabbitohs came closest through their captain, Kalani Ili in the first ten minutes as he was held up by some desperate Manly scramble.
The breakthrough would come in the 12th minute as a sweeping move to the right edge saw Rangi-Paoa Boyce cross easily in the corner. Doueihi would shoot wide with his conversion attempt, the Rabbitohs with the lead 4-0.
Their lead would be short lived as Manly ground their way to our try line over the next few sets, eventually crossing next to the posts through John Tasi Tuivaiti. Tevita Funa converted and Manly would steal the lead 6-4.
Tevita Funa would extend Manly’s lead after a sweeping run to the left would create a hole for the quick centre to dart through and score. He converted his own try to push Manly out to a 12-4 lead in the 25th minute.
With their backs against the wall, the young Rabbitohs would lift the intensity through interchange forward Cruz Topai-Aveai who would provide some damaging runs to push the Rabbitohs up field.
Unable to capitalise on their chances, the Sea Eagles would make the Rabbitohs pay as Haumole Olakau’atu forced his way over to score again in the 31st minute. Tevita Funa would convert his third attempt and see Manly lead 18-4.
A penalty to the Sea Eagles just before half time would result in another two points with Tevita Funa slotting the kick from just in front of the posts.
Adam Doueihi would kick start the Rabbitohs efforts in the second half, breaking the line in the 42nd minute and providing a freakish offload to Keaon Koloamatangi to score. Doueihi’s conversion attempt would be denied by the post and the scores sat at 20-8 in Manly’s favour.
A bad error from the resulting kick off saw the Rabbitohs knock the ball on and concede to Tevita Funa a few plays later on the left edge. He would miss his first conversion of the day in the 47th minute, leaving the scores at 24-8.
The Rabbitohs found their second try of the half shortly after in the 50th minute through Lucky Taavale – who strolled through some uncharacteristically poor defence from Manly. Doueihi converted from in front and Manly’s lead was reduced to 24-14.
A Manly line break down the right edge would put them in good attacking position in the 53rd minute. The Rabbitohs would be penalised for releasing Manly’s runner late and the resulting set would see Manly cross through Tom Wright. The conversion by Funa gave Manly a 30-14 lead.
Momentum swung firmly in Manly’s way when Joseph Ma’u produced a strong run from 10 metres out from our tryline which saw him crash through the Souths line and score. Funa was again accurate with the boot and gave the Silvertails a commanding 36-14 lead.
Manly would add further misery to the young Rabbitohs day with another try coming through Haumole Olakau’atu – his second for the day in the 63rd minute. Funa’s conversion would be denied by the post.
With 15 minutes left on the clock Josh Martin would join the party for Manly and power through the Souths line and score. Funa would convert this one and Manly would run out to 46-14.
Souths would grab a consolation try in the 74th minute as Harry Leddy intercepted a Manly pass and carried it 85 metres to score. Doueihi converted easily to make it 46-20.
Manly would break the 50 point mark through Amoni Tufui. Funa converted and the scores became 52-20 with only two minutes left on the clock.
It wasn’t pretty for the visitors at Brookvale Oval with Manly running up a big score over the young Rabbitohs.
Sea Eagles 52 (Funa 2, Olakauátu 2, Tasi Tuivaiti 1, Wright 1, Ma’u 1, Martin 1, Tufui 1 tries; Funa 7 goals; Funa 1 penalty goal)
Souths 14 (Boyce 1, Koloamatangi 1, Taavale 1, Leddy 1 tries; Doueihi 2 goal)