Manly too strong for Bunnies in scrappy affair

Manly five-eighth and New Zealand test player Kieran Foran underlined his class at Brookvale today with a second half double that extinguished a promising Souths comeback.  

Manly looked the better in the first stanza and it was only a contentious benefit of the doubt try to Souths second rower Jason Clark that kept the Rabbitohs in the game at the break.  A Sandow kick looked to be going dead when Merritt jumped out and flicked the ball back to Clark who touched it down.  Replays showed Merritt's foot touching the turf at the same time as the tap back and the sizable crowd let the match officials know what they thought of the decision as they walked off at half time.

Injuries to Jason King (hamstring) and Rhys Wesser (ankle) meant that both sides were down to 16 leading into the second period.  Souths started with more energy and were rewarded with tries to John Sutton (43rd minute) and Merritt (50th minute).  Merritt's try came off the back of a Greg Inglis break on half way and Sutton's was a jinking solo effort.  Souths positive start to the half ensured a nervy final half hour for the Brookvale faithful. 

They needn't have worried as Souths found a multitude of ways to lose their lead.  A dropped ball 10 metres from their own line proved the turning point as Foran capitalised on some flimsy goal line defence twice in three minutes to hand the lead back to the home side.  Jamie Lyon was unable to convert both Foran tries meaning that Souths were still within one score of locking it up until as late as the 77th minute.  Souths though were their own worst enemies with silly penalties and unforced errors ruining any chance of them taking home the cash.  Manly kicked a penalty goal and scored a length of the field effort on the bell to ice the game and elevate them to second spot on the ladder.  

Match Details
Manly Sea Eagles 36 defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 22
National Rugby League - Round 18 - Sunday July 10, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Referee: Ashley Klein and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Tim Mander
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Grant Atkins
Crowd: 19856
Halftime: Manly Sea Eagles 16 South Sydney Rabbitohs 8 players of the match:
3 Points - Kieran Foran (2 Tries)
2 Points - Glenn Stewart
1 Point - Nathan Merritt (2 Tries)

Tries: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, David Williams (2), Kieran Foran (2), Michael Oldfield
Conversions: Jamie Lyon (3/7)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Lyon (1/1)

Tries: John Sutton, Nathan Merritt (2), Jason Clark
Conversions: Chris Sandow (2/4)
Penalty Goals: Chris Sandow (1/1) Live Commentary Sunday footy at Brookvale! Manly against South Sydney today. Discuss the match on our forums, or follow us on Twitter, @LeagueUnlimited and be sure to add the hashtag #nrlmansou!
Toyota Cup: Who says defence is lacking in the NYC? The Rabbitohs have come up with a 52-30 victory over the Sea Eagles in the early game!
Welcome to you all on this fine Sunday afternoon at Brookvale. And what an afternoon we have in store with Manly looking to move above the Dragons into 2nd place with a win while the Rabbitohs will be desperate to stay in sight of the 8 in what would be a big upset. The weather is fine with a current temperature of 16 degrees though strong Westerly winds may worry the kickers (and catchers!!). Stick with us, we'll bring you any team changes as they come to hand.
For the Sea Eagles Joe Galuvao drops back to the bench replaced in the run on side by Vic Mauro, while Darcy Lussick and Tim Robinson are the unlucky ones to be left out. For the Rabbitohs Shaun Corrigan drops off the extended bench which means they are 1-17 as per program.
1 min: Souths kick off and we are underway at Brookvale.
1 min: PENALTY Manly: Cherry-Evans is taken late by Eddie Pettybourne. Manly attacking now.
3 min: Chris Sandow covers the Manly kick well and Souths have survived the early onslaught.
6 min: PENALTY Souths: Manly inside the 10. Souths have it now 35 metres from the Manly line.
7 min: Video Ref: Possible Souths try to Rhys Wesser. Checking double movement.
7 min: Decision: No Try. Wesser was involved twice in that set and went oh so close to scoring but was ruled to have knocked on over the line.
9 min: PENALTY Manly. Shannon McPherson ruled to be offside at the ruck.
10 min: TRY
Manly open the scoring with a nice backline move involving Cherry-Evans who gave Brett Stewart early ball and he drew and passed to the Wolfman David Williams who had too much toe for the defence. Jamie Lyon misses the conversion.
Manly Sea Eagles 4-0
13 min: Line dropout Manly. A Sandow bomb is left to bounce and B. Stewart taps it over the dead ball line.
14 min: Video Ref: Possible Souths try to Nathan Merritt.
14 min: TRY
Merritt does well to plant it just inside the right corner post and that's a benefit of the doubt try. Nice long ball from Sandow opened Manly up there.
4 all
18 min: PENALTY Manly. Isaac Luke is penalised for infringing in the play the ball and has a push and shove with B. Stewart.
19 min: TRY
Brett Stewart scores his obligatory try at Brookie. He drifted across-field and looked to pass but held on to it and made that look easy! Sandow really should have done better in defence. Lyon converts from left of the uprights.
Manly Sea Eagles 10-4
21 min: PENALTY Souths. High shot on Wesser by Kieran Foran. Souths have it just inside the Manly half.
23 min: Double knock on sees Manly with the pill on half way, but Cherry-Evans kicks out on the full on the last and Souths have another chance with good field position.
24 min: Souths attacking set ends with a John Sutton bomb that B. Stewart takes under his posts.
27 min: PENALTY Manly. Souths laying all over Glenn Stewart in the play the ball. Manly attacking the Souths line.
28 min: A great defensive set from Souths is ruined by a silly push on Anthony Watmough after he had played the ball on the last tackle.
29 min: TRY
Manly swing it from the right touchline to the left with a basketball pass from Cherry-Evans to Jamie Lyon who put it on Michael Oldfield's chest from 30 metres and he strolls through the flimsy Souths defence. Lyon converts it from 10 metres to the left of the posts.
Manly Sea Eagles 16-4
31 min: Manly have let the ball bounce and go dead from the kickoff and will drop out from under the sticks. Contentious call that. Looked to have touched the stripe.
33 min: Luke Burgess knocks on just two metres out and the pressure is off Manly for now.
34 min: Williams knocks on with no-one in front of him on half way. Souths scrum feed.
35 min: Video Ref: Possible Souths try. Could be freakish!!
36 min: TRY
Take a bow Nathan Merritt. Merritt chased a kick through that looked to be going dead for all money, he flicked it back and Jason Clark fell on it to complete one of the freakiest tries since Gasnier in the Centenary test in 2008!! Sandow misses his second conversion.
Manly Sea Eagles 16-8
39 min: Injury update. Wesser won't be back this afternoon. He has ankle ligament damage. Jason King has a hamstring problem and looks like he won't be back either.
40 min: HALF TIME:
Manly Sea Eagles 16
Souths Rabbitohs 8

Scrappy game so far. Both sides are down to 16 with the injuries to Wesser and King. The benefit of the doubt try to Clark looked dubious with Merritt's foot touching the grass at the same time as he tapped it back but that's footy and Manly will have to accept it and move on while Souths will look to stay in touch and get Greg Inglis more involved. If the Bunnies can stay within a try or two until the last quarter of the match they could just spring an upset.
41 min: And we're underway in the second half. Souths have it.
41 min: PENALTY Souths. Galuvao is penalised for offside after tackling Isaac Luke who targeted him deliberately.
43 min: TRY
John Sutton scores next to the posts after stepping past G. Stewart and Galuvao. Sensational solo effort that. Sandow kicks the easy conversion.
Manly Sea Eagles 16-14
Sandow takes the easy two points on offer after Galuvao and George Rose lay all over the Souths player. Its all tied up at Brookvale!
16 all
50 min: TRY
Greg Inglis busts the defence on half way and positions Merritt perfectly and he is too quick for the cover to touch down to the left of the uprights. Sandow adds the extras.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-16
55 min: Galuvao has left the field with concussion and is unlikely to return.
57 min: Sensational take by Merritt defusing the bomb and Souths work it out from their own line.
59 min: TRY
Souths dropped the pill on their own line and Foran runs over the top of Sandow to score. Lyon misses the conversion from out wide.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-20
61 min: PENALTY Manly. Souths ruled to have stripped it in the tackle. Manly on the attack.
61 min: Video Ref: Possible Manly try to Foran. Just checking grounding.
62 min: TRY
Good vision from Foran who ran over the top of a stationary Ben Lowe. Manly back in the lead. Lyon misses the conversion from the left.
Manly Sea Eagles 24-22
66 min: Sandow's kick on the last is too deep and Manly will restart from their own 20 metre line.
67 min: Forward pass from Luke to McPherson sees Manly with a full set just inside Souths half. Can they kill off Souths for the afternoon?
69 min: Cherry-Evans' kick runs over the dead ball line and Souths will start their set on their own 20.
71 min: TRY
Brent Kite puts B. Stewart through a gap and he finds Oldfield in support who in turn finds Michael Robertson with speed to burn. Lyon keeps Souths in it by missing the conversion from the left touchline.
Manly Sea Eagles 28-22
74 min: PENALTY Manly. Ben Lowe on report for a swinging arm which caused a minor ruckus.
74 min: Lowe has been ordinary in the second half, giving away three penalties and missing two tackles on Foran that lead to tries.
75 min: Great kick from Cherry-Evans sees Merritt caught in his in goal and Souths will drop it out from under the sticks.
Souths give away a silly penalty in front of the posts and Jamie Lyon steps up to ice the game with a few minutes to go.
Manly Sea Eagles 30-22
79 min: PENALTY Souths. Can Souths score a consolation try with a minute left. Sandow takes the quick tap 30 metres out.
80 min: Souths drop it and the Wolfman comes up with the pill. That should be the game.
80 min: TRY
Long range try to David Williams. Brett Stewart chased and kicked the Cherry-Evans grubber and it bounces up nicely for the Wolfman Williams. Lyon kicks the last points of the day.
Manly Sea Eagles 36-22
80 min: FULL TIME

Manly Sea Eagles 36 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 22.

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