Rabbitohs too good for the Sea Eagles
26 March, 2018, 12:00 am
SYDNEY – With the Burgess brothers in full cry and the red and green full of running, South Sydney Rabbitohs have delivered Anthony Seibold’s first victory as an NRL coach with a 34-6 drubbing of Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday.
In suitably English rain the British brothers belted Manly up and down the sodden ANZ Stadium turf, combining for 343 running metres and forcing a number of errors in the seven-tries to-one thumping.
Sam Burgess in particular walloped anything that moved in maroon and white, while twins George and Tom ran with the vigour of their early NRL years, without the fumbles of more recent ones.
Similarly maligned in the past few seasons, Alex Johnston looked more at home than ever before in the foundation club’s famous No.1 jumper, while wingers Robert Jennings and Richie Kennar finished with five tries between them.
Manly meanwhile dealt almost exclusively in mistakes, their 13 errors in the wet a polar opposite of last week’s 54-0 thrashing of Parramatta in 39-degree heat.
Despite a crunching one-on-one hit on Souths back-rower Angus Crichton by rookie Lachlan Croker on one edge, Jennings was still crossing down the other after a sharp left-side shift by Cody Walker.
Once penalties and errors were traded again in the wet Johnston burned Manly once more, swooping on a Cherry-Evans grubber and scorching 95 metres downfield for an early 10-0 lead.
As the Rabbitohs made all the running, wet weather football was shelved for their third try to Kennar.
An expansive shift almost had Greg Inglis sliding over down the left, before a cross field kick was fumbled by Brian Kelly, putting Kennar’s third four-pointer in as many games for his new club on a platter.
A scything support run by Tom Trbojevic split the Rabbitohs in the shadows of halftime, only for a desperate Johnston tackle, and the poor fifth tackle options that had plagued Manly all day denying them once more.
The Sea Eagles continued to shoot themselves in the foot from the outset of the second stanza as well, Addin Fonua-Blake inviting Souths to shunt him into touch from the first kick-off.
By the 46th minute Jennings had a dÃ©jÃ vu double, with a second-man play sending him over in the same fashion as his opening try.
The visitors’ first points came in stark contrast, with Jackson Hastings dummying through some soft defence.
A third left-side shift had Jennings in for a third just past the hour-mark, while Hymel Hunt helped himself to one for the road down Manly’s flimsy left-edge with two minutes to go.