Manly come home strong
against Souths

Round 24
Manly Sea Eagles 38 v South Sydney Rabbitohs 16
at Brookvale Oval
Referee: Russell Smith

Match Summary:

The Manly club has defeated South Sydney today at Brookvale Oval by 38-16 with a five-try second half blitz.

Manly opened up the scoring through fullback Brett Stewart, who claimed his first of three tries for the day in the fourth minute.

Following a period of consolidation, the Bunnies hit back hard with wingers Paul Mellor (15th minute) and Nathan Merritt (19th minute) pushing to a 12-4 lead, entertaining thoughts of a boilover.

With six minutes remaining in the first period, Manly scored again through replacement forward Shayne Dunley and with Orford adding the extras the home side trailed 12-10 at the break.

Des Hasler obviously had a few things to say to his chargers whilst peeling the oranges and it had the desired effect as Manly stormed to a 22-12 lead following tries to Steve Menzies (47th minute) and Stewart?s second in the 51st minute.

Souths bounced back momentarily with forward Joe Galuvao barging across the stripe only three minutes later before the Sea Eagles came home with a wet sail. Steve Matai showed plenty of class to score a double and Stewart completed his hat-trick in the 71st minute as Manly wrapped up the affair by 38-16.

This was a solid victory by the Sea Eagles coming off last week?s controversial win over Newcastle and missing inspirational skipper Ben Kennedy. They seemed to take the Bunnies a bit lightly in the first half but snapped out of that to post plenty of points and enjoy third position on the competition ladder with a healthy differential of +50. They host the Bulldogs next Friday night in a blockbuster game that has now taken on a bit more significance given Canterbury?s loss to Brisbane on Friday.

For Souths, coming off the bye is never easy and neither is winning at Brookvale. They showed plenty of ticker to lead Manly at the break but when all is said and done the Sea Eagles had more to play for and that?s what won them the game in the end. They host the Cowboys next week at Homebush in a very winnable game which should be an open and free-flowing contest.

Manly Sea Eagles: 38
Tries: Shayne Dunley, Steve Menzies, Brett Stewart(3), Steve Matai(2)
Goals: Matt Orford 5/7
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 16
Tries: Nathan Merritt, Paul Mellor, Joe Galuvao
Goals: Beau Champion 2/3

By the Clock:
Fantastic day out here on the Peninsula where the Sea Eagles play host to the Rabbitohs. Manly will be looking to consolidate their position in the top 4 with a win at home whilst Souths will no doubt enjoy disrupting their plans even though their season is over.

Both teams are as per the program.

1 min: NEWS And we're underway in the first half.

4 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Manly fullback Brett Stewart opens the scoring here at Brooky and continues his impressive try-scoring capability. Matt Orford fails with the conversion.
Sea Eagles 4-0

10 min: NEWS Manly on top here early but yet to really ram the advantage home. Whilst not dominating possession they're making more metres with the ball than their opponents. Souths are committing a few errors and missing a couple of tackles as they dust out the cobwebs after coming off the bye.

15 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Rabbitohs hit back through burly winger Paul Mellor scoring out wide. Young gun Beau Champion puts the conversion through the posts and the visitors take the lead.
Rabbitohs 6-4

19 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Bunnies push further ahead through freakish try-scoring winger Nathan Merritt who bags his 21st try of the year out here at Brooky. Geez he can find his way to the line. Champion knocks this one over as well and Souths are chugging along nicely.
Rabbitohs 12-4

24 min: NEWS The game certainly has evened out here at Brooky once the Bunnies began to settle into a rhythm. Manly have fallen off a few tackles and the Rabbitohs are starting to gain a few more metres up the middle of the ruck.

34 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
The Sea Eagles get back in the game through crafty replacement Shayne Dunley who schemes his way to the line. Orford adds the extras and draws the home team to within two points.
Rabbitohs 12-10

40 min: NEWS And the Rabbitohs head into the sheds with a narrow lead after a solid first half performance. They obviously know they have to back this up in the second half as the Sea Eagles often mount strong comebacks in the second period.

41 min: NEWS And we resume play here at Brooky.

47 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Evergreen Manly forward Steve Menzies powers across the line to snatch the lead back for the home side. Orford converts and the Sea Eagles nudge ahead.
Sea Eagles 16-12

51 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Stewart gets a double as Manly make a fast start to this second half. Orford converts and the home team open up a ten-point lead.
Sea Eagles 22-12

54 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Big Joe Galuvao bashes his way over the line to get the Bunnies back in the contest. The visitors haven't seen much of the possession during the second half but things are turning in their favour. Champion fails to convert.
Sea Eagles 22-16

59 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
An open game here at Brooky as the Sea Eagles sail over again. Big centre Steve Matai gets his first try for the day and it's converted by Matt Orford.
Sea Eagles 28-16

62 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Matai pinches another try as the Sea Eagles set out to improve their differential. Orford can't convert but the home side have streaked ahead.
Sea Eagles 32-16

71 min: TRY Manly Sea Eagles
Flying fullback Brett Stewart completes a hat-trick today, securing the victory against the Bunnies here at Fortress Brooky. Orford converts and they've opened up a handsome lead.
Sea Eagles 38-16

80 min: NEWS Manly run out handsome winners here at home after a plucky Souths side pushed them for the first half.
----------------------------------------- players of the match:
3 - Brett Stewart
2 - Matt Orford
1 - Steve Matai