A good night for the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in Townsville, outlasting the Vodafone Warriors...
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Scoring nine tries to four, the Manly side led most of the way, only falling behind briefly in the 24th minute following a leaping effort from South Sydney centre Lee Hookey.
The Sea Eagles struck back soon after with three tries, including one right on half time, to grab a commanding 26-12 lead.
Manly went further ahead to come away easy victors, with back rower Steve Menzies scoring his 146th career try early in the second half.
The Manly skipper's try may equal one of rugby league's oldest records - the most tries for a forward. Legendary lock forward Frank Burge scored a record 146 tries in 167 matches for Glebe and St George from 1911-1927.
Menzies scored his 146 tries in 264 appearances, although there is some conjecture over the number of matches he played in the centres while achieving the milestone.
RABBITOHS 22 Tries: Fletcher, Hookey, Harrison, Faalogo Goals: Williams 3/4 defeated by SEA EAGLES 50 Tries: Stewart 2, Bradley, Leuluai, Donald, Torrens, Menzies, Monaghan, Randall Goals: Walker 7/9
North Sydney Oval Referee: Steve Lyons
By the clock: 0 min: Both sides coming onto the field. Dry. Sunny. Moderate W-NW winds. 23?C.
4 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Nick Bradley scores after an early attacking raid from Manly. Conversion Andrew Walker. Sea Eagles 6-0
10 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Kylie Leuluai takes a run from from 15m out and proves unstoppable. Conversion Walker misses. Sea Eagles 10-0
14 min: NO TRY - Rabbitohs - Joe Williams denied after obstruction is ruled
16 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Bryan Fletcher takes on the defence stepping past Andrew Walker to score. Conversion successful from Joe Williams. Sea Eagles 10-6
24 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Lee Hookey crashes over after leaping high, a magnificent effort. Conversion Williams. Rabbitohs 12-10
28 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Scott Donald scores. Conversion Walker. Sea Eagles 16-12
32 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Brett Stewart scores in good position Conversion Walker. Sea Eagles 22-12
40 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Runaway intercept try to Albert Torrens during the half time bell. Sideline conversion attempt from Walker is unsuccessful. Sea Eagles 26-12
HALF TIME SUMMARY: The Rabbitohs hit the front briefly after a great try from Lee Hookey and have also had two tries denied, but are simply struggling to complete their sets. Sea Eagles dominating the ruck and scoring a try just before the break, courtesy an intercept, look to have put their opposites away.
Second half underway...
45 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Steve Menzies scores under the posts. Hint of a forward pass but the points are on the board. NEWS - Menzies now close to breaking the all time try scoring record for a forward curently held by Glebe's Frank Burge. Conversion Walker right in front. Sea Eagles 32-12
48 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Brett Stewart gets a double. Conversion Walker. Sea Eagles 38-12
51 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Ashley Harrison gets one back for Souths. Conversion Williams Sea Eagles 38-18
56 min: SIN BIN - Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles) off for 10 minutes for holding down.
61 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Michael Monaghan scores Conversion OK from Walker. Sea Eagles 44-18
74 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Chad Randall scores. Andrew Walker converts and Manly post the half ton. Sea Eagles 50-18
78 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. David Faalogo scores a consolation try for Souths. Conversion attempt from Williams is unsuccessful. Sea Eagles 50-22
FULL TIME: Manly declare at 50-22 and kick far enough ahead of Souths to avoid the wooden spoon for 2004. Souths looked good at times and and can take something from a great try scored by Lee Hookey while two tries were disallowed. In a match where defence wasn't always a consideration, Steve Menzies was a stand-out for Manly, as was forward Daniel Heckenberg. Five-eighth Andrew Walker had another excellent day with the boot, kicking 7 goals while both he and Michael Monaghan created numerous opportunities around the ruck.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Menzies (Sea Eagles) 2 - A Walker (Sea Eagles) 1 - D Heckenberg (Sea Eagles) -----------------------------------------