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South Sydney lock Cameron Murray.

Player ratings for the South Sydney Rabbitohs team in their Telstra Premiership preliminary final clash with the Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium.

1. Blake Taaffe: Oozed confidence in just his seventh NRL game. Has risen to the challenge of replacing Latrell Mitchell with aplomb while adding his own subtle flavour to the team's attack. Set up Alex Johnston twice, helped stop a Tom Trbojevic try and kicked some tricky goals. 8.5/10

2. Alex Johnston: The consummate professional, he added his 28th and 29th tries of the season while gaining 131 metres. After nearly being forced away from Redfern last year, he now has a shot at claiming a second title with his beloved club. 8

3. Dane Gagai: Came up with some important plays. It was his busted tackle and subsequent kick that led to Cody Walker opening the scoring. And when Manly had the momentum after half-time, the veteran forced a crucial error from Haumole Olakau'atu. 7.5

4. Campbell Graham: Came close to scoring a barge-over try in the first half before crossing in the second to keep the Rabbitohs in control. Solid display, but the ease with which Manly opened up the right-edge defence on a few occasions is a cause for concern. 7

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles

5. Jaxson Paulo: The 21-year-old bagged a double in fine fashion. Dived stylishly for the first before outleaping Reuben Garrick and moonwalking to the line for the next. A couple of defensive lapses were his only blemishes. 7.5

6. Cody Walker: Stood up as the chief playmaker with Adam Reynolds taking a back seat. Comfortably handled the bulk of the kicking duties and produced many a classy touch. The five-eighth's near-unrivalled footballing instincts came to the fore in scoring a double and cleaning up loose balls. 9

7. Adam Reynolds: Unusually quiet in the beginning due to a surprise groin injury but the captain warmed up as the game wore on. Had a hand or a boot in a few tries, producing results with his limited kicks. A fairytale farewell looms. 7

8. Mark Nicholls: Busy in his first stint, continually carting the ball forward with South Sydney enjoying a wave of possession. Thankfully OK after being upended by Josh Aloiai late in the match. 6.5

9. Damien Cook: A left-footed grubber on the fly to provide Walker his second try will feature on highlight reels for years to come. He is the master at jumping from dummy-half when South Sydney are rolling. 8.5

Slipping and sliding everywhere then Walker has the first try

10. Tevita Tatola: Like Nicholls, he wasn't shy about trucking the ball forward in his opening 20-minute stint. The result was sewn up by the time he was brought back into the fray but finished with some impressive numbers. 7

11. Keaon Koloamatangi: Another great shift. Has come on in leaps and bounds since being handed a starting berth in round two to become one of the game's elite back-rowers. Fourteen runs for 131 metres - typically strong. 8

Taaffe rifles a pass to Johnston

12. Jaydn Su'A: Has to be commended on the way he's responded after being dropped earlier in the season. Played up to his State of Origin standing with 15 runs for 109 metres. 7.5

13. Cameron Murray: Titanic performance. Never stopped, making 195 metres from 24 runs as well as being the link man in the middle. For good measure, he completed 35 tackles without a miss. Rewarded for effort when his tap-back from a Reynolds bomb led to a try. 9

Interchange

14. Benji Marshall: Nice short ball to put Graham over the stripe and showed poise with the ball in his 29-minute cameo. What a story it will be if the 36-year-old can clinch his second career premiership. 6.5

Marshall with soft hands for Graham

15. Jacob Host: Only used for 24 minutes but barely put a foot wrong, putting his hand up for five carries and making eight tackles. 5

16. Thomas Burgess: Huge in size and output. The decision to inject the Englishman from the bench has been a smart one. Again offered impact and kept the middle tight. 7.5

17. Jai Arrow: Went about his business with minimal fuss and high quality. Very involved on both sides of the football. 7.5

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.