An understrength Rabbitohs U/20s squad would lose out to the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in their Round nine clash at Allianz Stadium, going down 38-20.
Despite coming in as underdogs, the young Rabbitohs took an early lead through 18-year old winger Tyrone Taukamo who scored in the right corner in the third minute. Hawkins would shoot wide on his conversion attempt. Rabbitohs 4 – 0 Sea Eagles.
The Rabbitohs continued their attacking pressure but an ineffective grubber kick found the arms of Manly five-eighth Tom Wright who ran the length of the field to score in the left corner. The conversion attempt by Bilal Maarbani was waved away and the scores were locked at 4-4 after eight minutes.
Rabbitohs would continue to pressure the Sea Eagles try line for consecutive sets – however they were unable to capitalise.
It would prove costly for the young Rabbitohs as the Sea Eagles, aided by a penalty, managed to get out of their own half and score in the right corner through winger Alfred Smalley. The Sea Eagles conversion attempt would go wide and Manly would take the lead at 8-4 after 21 minutes.
The Sea Eagles would take control of this game after absorbing the early traffic and score again through centre Brad Parker. Maarbani would convert this attempt, the Sea Eagles making it 14-4 after 26 minutes.
Tom Wright would add to his tally in the 30th minute, running a good line to split the Rabbitohs defence and score on the right edge. Maarbani converted from a difficult angle to make the scores 18-4 in Manly’s favour.
The Rabbitohs would claw their way back into the contest through Tyrone Taukamo in the 35th minute. The young winger was the recipient of a quick shift to the right and although bobbling the ball in his hands would ground well next to the post. The conversion attempt was waved away with the Rabbitohs now trailing by 10 points.
Manly would retort just before the half after a beautiful cross field kick by Fainu which found the arms of winger Alfred Smalley to stroll over for his second of the match. The conversion attempt would go wide and Manly would go into the sheds with a 24-8 lead.
The second half would start in the same fashion the first half ended; with a try to Manly. Alfred Smalley would score his hattrick try in the corner and the conversion would be waved away. Manly led 28-8 after 43 minutes.
Jordan Mailata would bag his first try in the red and green in the 47th minute, crashing over under the posts and carrying several Manly defenders at the same time. Hawkins would covert this attempt and Souths would sit at 14 points to Manly’s 28.
Bilal Maarbani would push Manly four points further into the lead, finding a lot of space on the left side of field to step his way past a Rabbitohs defender and carry the ball 20 metres to score. The conversion was unsuccessful by fullback Luke Polselli. Manly 32 -14 Souths after 58 minutes.
Sam Johnston would add his name to the scoreboard in a similar vein to Mailata in the 63rd minute. Crashing under the posts he set up an easy conversion for Dean Hawkins whose kick would leave the score at 32-20.
Josh Martin would join in the scoring for the Sea Eagles, the second-rower crashing over the line from close range. Maarbani converted and the Sea Eagles would lead 38-20 after 70 minutes.
Manly 38 (Alfred Smalley 3, Tom Wright 2, Brad Parker, Josh Martin, Bilal Maarbani tries; Bilal Maarbani 3 goals)
Souths 20 (Tyrone Taukamo 2, Jordan Mailata, Sam Johnstone tries; Dean Hawkins 2 goals)