Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles: Five key points
Manly's right edge sizzled as the Sea Eagles continued their impressive form on the road with a clinical 46-8 win over a disappointing Souths side.
Aku back to his best
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett was quick to point out Friday night's win was a 17-man effort, but not even he could deny just how well the right edge of Dylan Walker and Akuila Uate played.
Walker set up four tries and looked dangerous every time he touched the ball, while Uate showed why he was once regarded as the best finisher in the game with his first four-try haul since 2011.
"I'm really happy for both of them, particularly Aku," Barrett said.
"He had a horror 12 months where he was down on confidence and doubting his ability, I suppose. He's very popular with the players, he's a character and he worked really hard in the off-season and he's getting rewarded for it."
Sea Eagles soaring away from home
In years gone by, a game at Brookvale used to mean a guaranteed two points for the Sea Eagles.
How things have changed.
Their record at Lottoland this year isn't great – they've won one from five at the venue – but Manly's form on the road has been something else altogether.
Trent Barrett's men are 4-0 away from home in 2017 – level with the Storm and Sharks – with two wins at Allianz Stadium to go with victories in Canberra and Townsville.
"They're a pretty tight group and they enjoy spending time together," Barrett said.
"We've got a pretty young squad and we can control things a bit better when we're all together and get them in the right frame of mind. We'd certainly like to win at home
[as well] because it'd help. I don't care where we play; we just need to play well."
40/20 turns the game on its head
If you didn't watch Friday night's game and only glanced superficially at the final score then it would be easy to assume that Manly dominated the contest from start to finish.
That certainly wasn't the case as South Sydney started the game with the same sort of energy that saw them push the Broncos all the way a week ago, only for Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans to swing momentum Manly's way with a booming 40/20 that stopped the Rabbitohs in their tracks.
Souths barely touched the ball after that as Manly ran in six unanswered tries, and the importance of Cherry-Evans's second 40/20 of the season didn't go unnoticed in the Manly coaching box.
"That was a massive play in the game because we were on the back foot for the opening stanza," Barrett said.
Souths unable to contain Manly's offloads
Defensive lines have no trouble handling structured attack, but as the Sea Eagles showed on Friday second-phase footy is a completely different story.
Manly chalked up 10 offloads in the first half alone and added nine more after the break to keep the Rabbitohs on the hop for the entire contest.
Martin Taupau alone had seven offloads, with speedsters Apisai Koroisau, Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker wreaking havoc on the back of his efforts.
"It was our defence that let us down and it allowed them to really capitalise on the things that happened out there," Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said.
"I think everyone would be able to tell you how Manly play – they play with their offloads – and Api Koroisau and Trbojevic feed off the back of that."
Frightening first-half stats
It's probably a good thing the Rabbitohs have a fortnight off before their next game because no one will want to watch a replay of Friday night's performance any time soon. Souths were totally outclassed in the first half with Manly running for 550 more metres while they were forced to make 99 fewer tackles than their opponents. They also led the line break count 5-0 and procured three line breaks in the most one-sided opening stanza of the year.