The South Sydney Rabbitohs have grinded out a 12-point win over the Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium.
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In a tight battle in Sydney’s west the Rabbitohs powered over the Sea Eagles with a solid second half display.
The defending champions lost halfback Adam Reynolds to concussion in the first half to a head knock but battled on to claim victory over their old rivals.
Glenn Stewart came up against his brother Brett while prop Luke Burgess faced his brothers, Tom and George, for the first time.
The Sea Eagles lost Willie Mason before kick-off, with Justin Horo moving on to the bench.
They fielded Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran in the halves together again for a what has been a rare occurance in 2015.
Manly started the match strongly, putting pressure on the South Sydney defence.
They got their reward when Peta Hika touched down after a Kieran Foran kick.
But the Sea Eagles couldn’t add the extras.
Manly were also dishing out some big hits.
Jorge Taufau smashed Dylan Walker in one tackle. Steve Matai also pulled off a barnstorming tackle that rocked the ground.
However, it didn’t take South Sydney long to respond on the scoreboard.
Having absorbed the Sea Eagles’ pressure, Aaron Gray crossed after a lovely backline movement cut Manly’s defence to shreds.
Gray’s try tied it up at 4-4.
Souths then had a try disallowed by the referee.
They slotted a penalty to go 6-4 in front at half-time.
The Rabbitohs were surging ahead in the second half and Gray spectacularly set up the next try.
The rookie winger flung the ball back on the inside for Bryson Goodwin to score.
Gray then claimed his second try off a terrific John Sutton kick.
Sutton lined the winger up perfectly and Gray dived over.
Souths took a 14-4 lead and were in control after two quick-fire tries.
But the Sea Eagles responded soon after.
Off a penalty, Keiran Foran turned the ball back inside on a set move and Steve Matai touched down in the left corner.
The last pass to Matai looked forward but the try was given.
Manly were back in the game at 14-8.
With 18 minutes left Luke Keary sealed the win for South Sydney.
A bomb was hoisted up and Alex Johnston recovered it.
Somehow the Souths winger got an offload away and Keary picked it up at top speed.
The plucky half darted through to finish Manly off.
Isaac Luke added the extras and South Sydney were home 20-8.
It was the result the Rabbitohs needed after a disappointing display against Wests Tigers a fortnight ago.
South Sydney’s George Burgess was named man of the match for his tough performance in the middle of the park.
Souths move up to fourth spot on the NRL ladder on 20 points, six behind competition leaders the Brisbane Broncos.
Manly remain on the bottom of the table with just four wins this season.