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A diabolical second half performance from Souths, in which their players replaced their hands with slabs of meat, has helped the Manly Sea Eagles to a clinical 24 points to 8 win at ANZ Stadium tonight.
Coming out of half time down 18 points to nil, Souths started strong, and were the first to post points on the board through Craig Wing in the 49th minute.
Souths looked like starting a comeback of epic proportions, making big metres out of their own half and defending hard, but were let down by ball handling which can only be described as pathetic.
Brett Stewart crossed for his second not long after Wing's try and, while there was still a good thirty minutes to go in the game, sealed the victory for the visitors, with Souths 64% completion rate ensuring they were unable to do anything with the ball, save for a consolation try to Nathan Merritt at the death.
The first half reminded us all of the Sea Eagles of last year, putting forward a composed and complete display that was reminiscant of the 2008 Grand Final.
Every pass stuck, every tackle was made, and almost all attacking raids gave a result. And they made it all look so simple in the process.
Jamie Lyon started the scoring off in the 11th, playing a simple numbers game to take advantage of Souths compressed defensive line.
Lyon was in again in the 18th, this time the recipient of a draw and pass play by Matt Orford.
Brett Stewart continued his stunning return to football, backing Anthony Watmouth in the 33rd to collect his fourth try in two games.
It was an impressive first half display from the reigning premiers, and while coach Des Hasler may be disappointed with their second half drop in intensity, he certainly wan't be as disappointed as Souths coach Jason Taylor, who will no doubt have all his players working hard on their ball control if they are to leave this game by the wayside.
Manly Sea Eagles 24 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 8
Round 6 - Saturday, April 18th, 2009 7:30pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Homebush
Referee: Jared Maxwell & Phil Haines
Sideline Officials: Luke Potter & Daniel Eastwood
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Halftime: Rabbitohs 0 Sea Eagles 18
South Sydney Rabbitohs 8
Tries: Craig Wing, Nathan Merritt
Goals: Chris Sandow (0/1), Issac Luke (0/1)
Manly Sea Eagles 24
Tries: Jamie Lyon (2), Brett Stewart (2)
Goals: Jamie Lyon (4/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match
3 Points: Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles)
2 Points: Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)
1 Point: Jamie Lyon (Sea Eagles)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Good evening and welcome to ANZ Stadium for tonights clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Manly Sea Eagles.
Manly scored their first win of the season last week, no doubt the return of mercurial fullback Brett Stewart played a massive part in that. The Rabbitohs went down to the Bulldogs in a tight tussle last Monday night, but maintained their position in the top four.
Team changes are minimal, with Ben Lowe out for the Rabbitohs, Craig Wing starting at lock and Jamie Simpson coming onto the bench. As such, the teams for tonight are:
RABBITOHS: 1. Luke Capewell, 2. Nathan Merritt, 3. Colin Best, 4. Beau Champion, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. John Sutton, 7. Chris Sandow, 8. Luke Stuart, 9. Isaac Luke, 10. Roy Asotasi, 12. Shannon McPherson, 13. David Fa'alogo, 14. Craig Wing
Interchange: 15. Eddy Pettybourne, 16. Jaiman Lowe, 17. David Kidwell, 18. Jamie Simpson
SEA EAGLES :1. Brett Stewart, 2. Michael Robertson, 3. Jamie Lyon, 4. Steve Matai, 5. Michael Bani, 6. Chris Bailey, 7. Matt Orford (c), 8. Brent Kite, 9. Matt Ballin, 10. Josh Perry, 11. Anthony Watmough, 12. Glenn Hall, 13. Glenn Stewart
Interchange: 14. Heath L