Manly move to top spot on the

Fulltime score: Round 7 Manly 48 v Souths 14

Match summary:

Manly have run out easy 48-14 winners over an undisciplined and disappointing South Sydney side at Brookvale Oval this afternoon.

Souths were never in the contest in a match played in front of over 18,000 fans at a ground bathed in sunshine to support a team now on top of the NRL ladder by themselves. Manly fans will be pleased with the result knowing their team never really got out of second gear today and with Ben Kennedy failing to back up from the test match, the Sea Eagles will be fresh for the challenges that lay ahead.

Souths gave away far too many penalties and their lack of skill and execution when they did have the ball made Souths look like rank amateurs at times.

Manly, to their credit, never put the cue in the rack with Steve Menzies scoring his 153rd first grade try and join eight of his team mates in getting a four pointer this afternoon. Michael Witt bagged a personal tally of sixteen points with six goals from nine attempts and a try to cap off an impressive afternoon.

Manly can now look forward to their clash with the Brisbane Broncos this Friday night at Suncorp Stadium and with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence, they can expect to give the Broncos plenty to think about during the week in a game that should be played before a bumper crowd to continue the trend of massive crowds throughout the opening rounds of the NRL.

Souths on the other hand are floundering and they look to be getting worse by the week with consecutive thirty point losses. Souths coach Shaun McRae has a lot of work to do but with Shannon Hegarty, John Sutton and Adam Macdougall missing through injury, Souths lack the firepower to be a real threat of making the top eight.

Scorers: SEA EAGLES 48 Tries: Matai, Donald, Williamson, Kite, Stephenson, Stewart, Menzies, Randall, Witt. Goals: Witt 6/9


RABBITOHS 14 Tries: L Macdougall, Rigon, Bell Goals: Williams 1/3

By the clock: 1st min: Standing room only at Brookval Oval this afternoon. The Bunnies will need a very big game to get the points his afternoon but as we know with NRL 2005, anything is possible.

2nd min: TRY - Manly. Steve Matai scores for Manly after Chris Hicks swooped on a Roy Bell error and Matai finished off nicely. Conversion successful. Manly 6-0.

5th min: TRY - Manly. It's a carve up early on with Scott Donald running over the top of Roy Bell, who has been exposed as nothing but a liability. Conversion successful. Manly 12-0.

10th min: Adam Macdougall has torn a hamstring and will not be returning. A massive blow to the Bunnies early in the game.

15th min: Souths starting to show some resolve and the game has been played at a cracking pace. Let's see if Souths can stick with Manly until half time.

17th min: TRY - Luke Williamson scores off a Michael Witt bomb after just coming onto the field. Conversion successful. Manly 16-0.

23rd min: Manly on the attack after two successive penalties but they have lost the ball with Souths on the ropes.

30th min: No change in the score and Manly have still had the better off play thanls to a 6-1 penalty count in their favour. Souths are struggling.

31st min: TRY - Souths. Luke Macdougall scores a vital try for Souths with less than ten minutes to the half time break. Conversion successful. Manly 16-4.

35th min: TRY - Manly. Kite scores and this is starting to get ugly. Conversion successful. Manly 22-4.

39th min: TRY - Manly. Stephenson scores close to the line as Souths shut up shot for the afternoon. Conversion successful. Manly 26-4.

HALF TIME: Souths have been dreadful and their undisciplined play has cost them any chance of making a game of it this afternoon.

41st min: We are underway in the second half. Can Souths make a game of it and restore some pride?

46th min: TRY - Manly. Souths are on a hiding to nothing as Brett Stewart scores a long range try to improve the Eagles for and against. Conversion successful. Manly 32-4.

52nd min: TRY - Souths. The Bunnies have crossed the stripe with Rigon getting a try off a kick. Conversion successful. Manly 32-10.

60th min: Manly have blown a few chances but they seem to have clocked off mentally with such a big lead. Something they can't afford to do against the Broncos next week.

62nd min: TRY - Manly. Menzies rampages his way over the line to score his 153rd first grade try. Conversion successful. Manly 38-10.

67th min: TRY - Manly. Chad Randall crashes over from dummy half to give Manly first spot on the ladder leading into their blockbuster with the Broncos next weekend. Manly 44-10.

71st min: TRY - Souths. Roy Bell gets a late try to give the scoreline some respectability. Conversion unsuccessful. Manly 44-14.

76th min: TRY - Manly. Michael Witt adds to his burgeoning personal tally to give Manly their ninth try of the afternoon. Conversion unsuccessful. Manly 48-14.

FULL TIME: Manly have scored nine tries to run out convincing winners over a disappointing South Sydney side who were their own worst enemy with far too much undisciplinee play to ever be a chance of getting back in the match. Manly now sit alone at the top of the NRL ladder leading into their blockbuster against the Brisbane Broncos next Friday night.

----------------------------------------- players of the match: 3 - S Menzies (Manly) 2 - M Witt (Manly) 1 - A Watmough (Manly) -----------------------------------------