Manly put an end to South Sydney’s six-game winning run with a dominant 23-6 win at Gosford’s Bluetongue Stadium in Round 23 last year.
Showing off their big match experience, the Sea Eagles shrugged off a slow start that saw Sam Burgess barge over after just three minutes to dominate the majority of the match and overcome an off night with the boot from captain Jamie Lyon.
However, it wasn’t until the second half that the Sea Eagles really clicked into gear. Leading just 9-6 at the break through tries to Dean Whare and Jorge Taufua and a last-second field-goal to Daly Cherry-Evans, Manly came close to scoring straight after the break when Taufua was pulled into touch just metres short of the tryline but made sure the next opportunity counted with Taufua finishing off a slick backline move to make it 13-6.
With 10 minutes remaining, Lyon completely bamboozled his opposite Matt King with a brilliant piece of footwork to send David Williams across out wide. And when Matt Ballin darted over in the closing stages the Sea Eagles had brought the Bunnies crashing right back down to earth.
Manly dominated the metres, running for a total of 1477 to the Rabbitohs’ 1228 and made a whopping nine line-breaks to South Sydney’s one.
David Williams impressed for Manly with a try, five tackle busts, three line-breaks and a game-high 168 metres while Lyon added three line-break assists.
Burgess and Dave Taylor were Souths’ best with four tackle-breaks apiece and 113 and 125 metres respectively.