Rugby League

Rabbitohs outlast Manly to claim 75-year first

June 23, 2024 5:55 am

[Source: NRL]

South Sydney have held Manly scoreless for the first time since 1949 to claim their fourth-straight victory and continue a mid-season resurgence.

The clash was the 151st match between the two sides and marked just the second time the Rabbitohs have kept the Sea Eagles. Remarkably, the only prior time was 75 years ago in 1949.

South Sydney have now won four games on the trot and are daring to dream of a second-half charge towards the finals. With the bye next week, they will secure another two points and narrow the gap with the top eight.

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The teams were without their Origin stars, with Manly missing the direction and kicking game of captain Daly Cherry-Evans. The Sea Eagles have also been hit by a heavy injury toll, with 12 top line players unavailable.

The first half was a gritty affair, with both sides playing within themselves in order to minimise errors in the driving rain.

The Rabbitohs executed the gameplan superbly, completing 21 of 23 sets to win the territorial battle and put their opponents under pressure.

The smart use of the football quickly led to points, Richard Kennar latching on to a Damien Cook short ball to charge over from short range.

Fullback Jye Gray made it 8-0 after 20 minutes after slicing through the Manly defensive line to cross for the first try of his young career.

The Sea Eagles had opportunities to hit back, however South Sydney’s defensive effort ensured they repelled multiple waves of Sea Eagles attack to maintain a clean sheet throughout the opening 40 minutes.

Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston had a chance to put a punctuation mark on the first half, however he lost the ball as he dove for the line in the final play of the half.

The second half was a grind, with both sides struggling to find their rhythm in attack.

With the clock counting down, Manly were determined to close the margin and they thought they had done so when Tommy Talau crossed with 15 minutes remaining.

The try, however, was disallowed for obstruction and the quest for their first points of the match continued.

A handful of other opportunities emerged, however, the South Sydney defensive line held firm. Eventually the hosts closed the game out when Keaon Koloamatangi won the race to the ball in the in goal to make it 14-0 with a minute to play.