Manly have snapped South Sydney’s three-match winning streak after skipper Daly Cherry-Evans stepped up with a golden point field goal for a 13-12 win in front of a delirious Lottoland crowd on Saturday.
It was the second golden point match of the weekend – and ended similarly to Penrith’s 9-8 victory 24 hours earlier with the winning field goal coming from 40 metres out by the halfback.
But the Sea Eagles joy will be short-lived. They lost fullback Tom Trbojevic early in the second half with a recurrence of a left hamstring strain.
Trbojevic had just taken a kick on the full from Adam Reynolds and was about two meters into his run upfield, when he just stopped and grabbed the top of his leg.
Fox Sports commentators Danny Buderus and Greg Alexander were at the ground and are also on Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues coaching staff.
Match: Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs
Round 4 -
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Manly could have gone into the foetal position but they scored the next try through hooker Manase Fainu to grab the lead back 12-10. The constant cheering of the Lottoland faithful must have been ringing in Adam Reynolds' ears.
He was off target with a routine penalty in the 61st minute that would have drawn the Rabbitohs level – his third miss of the afternoon. But Reynolds did kick one with eight minutes left on the clock to lock things up 12-12.
However, the miscued kicks kept coming. Reynolds missed field goals in the 80th and 84th minutes, which would have secured a fourth victory on the trot.
Reynolds has so often been the Rabbitohs hero with match-winning field goals. But this time it was Cherry-Evans’ turn. It was the 19th one-pointer of his career and the 30-year-old celebrates 200 NRL games next weekend against Newcastle.
Manly did it tough in the second half. At one stage only Api Koroosau was on the bench – and he was nursing a sore wrist. He did return to the field, but alongside Trbojevic in the sheds, Corey Waddell and Martin Taupau were undergoing HIA tests. Waddell didn’t make it back.
They also didn’t help themselves with a heavy error count: 12 in the first half, nine in the second, before extra time was called.
Meantime, Joel Thompson was placed on report for allegedly tripping Corey Allan in the 72nd minute.
The visitors held a slim 10-6 lead at halftime.
Possession running at 69 per cent early meant Manly chanced their hand. Jake Trbojevic was held up in the fifth minute and Elgey grounded it cleanly, but bunker replays showed a knock-on by Joel Thompson in the lead-up.
Still it didn’t take all that long – 12th minute to be exact – before Trbojevic crossed for his sixth try in his past three games at Lottoland. He used the show-and-go before a burst of speed got him around Sam Burgess. Cherry-Evans converted and the Sea Eagles were squawking 6-0.
But after four sets on the Manly line, the pressure became too much and Sam Burgess went over in the 22nd and it was all level.
Cody Walker did more damage with a darting run down the left side before passing to Campbell Graham. He pirouetted out of one tackle and then beat a second to score his fifth try in four games.