PREVIEW: Rd 9, 2017
The Manly Sea Eagles head into this one with a 4-4 win-loss record while the South Sydney Rabbitohs are 3-5, but those stats could very well have been reversed had a few things gone differently in Round 8.
Manly played out a thriller against the Canberra Raiders, with the Sea Eagles stealing a two-point win in extra-time courtesy of a Dylan Walker penalty goal. Both sides traded tries in the final 10 minutes, before Walker missed a simple conversion that would have ended the game in regulation time. Despite copping it from the Canberra players, the explosive centre held his nerve when it mattered to clinch the crucial win.
It was a different story for the Rabbitohs who rallied from a half-time deficit to hit the lead against Brisbane, only for a couple of controversial calls to go against them late in the contest. Tautau Moga was awarded a try that shouldn't have been given, while Anthony Milford appeared to bobble the ball moments before he landed the winning field goal.
Michael Maguire will have drilled into his players that there is no point dwelling on last week's events, with their focus solely on bouncing back against Manly.
The Rabbitohs welcome back Adam Reynolds from injury, which pushes John Sutton into the second row, while George Burgess will miss the following four games through suspension.
"It'll be great to get all our Members out there. They play a big part in who we are as a Club and it's very special we've got them," said Maguire.
"If we can get them out to the game and they make plenty of noise for us it adds to everything we do."
Manly coach Trent Barrett has named the same 17 that got the job done in the nation's capital.
Maguire appears to have worked out how best to use Damien Cook and Robbie Farah. Against the Broncos, Cook – as he has done for the past month – started the match and caused early headaches with his speed around the ruck.
Michael Maguire chose to keep Farah on the bench until the 45th minute, but his injection into the contest changed the complexion of the game with the veteran rake setting up two tries to give his side the lead.
Cook returned later in a roving commission, but Souths simply didn't have enough possession at that stage to mount any attacking threats.
Round nine will be the Rabbitohs’ dedicated Men of League round, featuring the Rabbitohs’ past players’ reunion, a lap of honour and guard of honour made up of former Rabbitohs’ players and legends, as well as Men of League fundraising opportunities at the game. The Chairman of the Men of League Foundation is South Sydney legend Ron Coote.