Rabbitohs recover to thump Manly
The Rabbitohs have run away with a 38-18 win at Lottoland despite the home team exploding out of the blocks with three tries in the opening 13 minutes.
Much like in their opening-round loss to the Eels, Manly spent much of the second half camped on their own line and with four top-line props missing there was simply not enough gas in the tank to stay with a re-energised South Sydney side.
Five-eighth Cody Walker was the star for Souths in partnership with hooker Robbie Farah, while returning halfback Adam Reynolds added the polish with a series of short kicks that punished the Sea Eagles. Returning prop George Burgess carried the ball with plenty of vigour but hasn't erased the silly errors from his game.
Club debutant George Jennings was excellent coming in for the dropped Sifa Talakai, scoring one try and setting up another.
Manly got great service from the Trbojevic brothers who were head and shoulders above their teammates while rookie centre Brian Kelly continued his impressive start to his NRL career.
A topsy-turvy first half saw Souths hit back to take the lead after an early three-try blitz to Manly.
The half finished 18-12 to the Rabbitohs at three tries apiece with Adam Reynolds' perfect three-from three against Dylan Walker's none from three at the kicking tee the difference.
Akuila Uate, Brian Kelly and Tom Trbojevic each found their way onto the scoreboard in the opening 13 minutes with Souths looking shot to bits.
However a couple of positive sets got them back into the grind with Cody Walker playing out of his skin and Adam Reynolds earning a couple of repeat sets.
Club debutant Robert Jennings pushed past Dylan Walker in the 18th minute and when Blake Green was sin-binned tackling a try-bound Kyle Turner off the ball shortly after Souths ran in two more tries through Cody Walker and Josh Sutton for an 18-12 half-time advantage.
Manly spent the opening stages of the second half camped on their own line as Souths continued to notch repeat sets but the next try came totally against the run of play as a magic offload from Jake Trbojevic was followed by a searing line break to his brother Tom to send Daly Cherry-Evans over and level the scores.
From there Manly bossed the next 10 to 15 minutes in another momentum swing as Souths continued to be their own worst enemy with ball in hand.
However an awful dropped bomb under no pressure from Jorge Taufua was compounded by an offside penalty against Uate when he cleaned up the scraps, handing Souths a free two-point lead with 20 to play.
Manly started to fatigue badly as Souths reasserted their dominance of field position and a couple of repeat possessions at the Manly line took their toll when Alex Johnston strolled over in the 67th minute. Souths went the length from the next set as Jennings founds himself into space and sent a supporting Robbie Farah over for his first NRL try in Rabbitohs colours that sent the Lottoland faithful heading for the exits.
Johnston swept into a Farah grubber for his double five minutes later to make it an ugly 38-18 scoreline for the hosts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 38 (Johnston 2, Jennings, Walker, Sutton, Farah tries; Reynolds 7 goals) defeated Manly Sea Eagles 18 (Uate, Kelly, T Trbojevic, Cherry-Evans tries; Walker goal) at Lottoland. Half time: Rabbitohs 18-12. Crowd 10,183.