South Sydney Rabbitohs 34-26 Manly Sea Eagles: Bunnies edge bruising thriller to reach NRL preliminary finals

By Sports Desk September 20, 2019

Cameron Murray scored key tries late in each half as South Sydney Rabbitohs overcame a heroic effort from Manly Sea Eagles to triumph 34-26 at ANZ Stadium and reach the NRL preliminary finals for a second successive year.

Manly have exceeded all expectations under Des Hasler this year and could be hugely proud of their performance in a pulsating and bruising semi-final featuring multiple swings in momentum.

Yet it was the Rabbitohs who ultimately prevailed as John Sutton and Murray crossed inside the final 13 minutes with Jake Trbojevic in the sin bin for Manly.

The Sea Eagles also saw Brad Parker yellow-carded in a frantic second half, while the hosts were hampered by the loss of three players - Alex Johnston, Adam Doueihi and Sam Burgess - to head injuries.

Souths are likely to be particularly concerned over the availability of Johnston as they prepare to face Canberra Raiders for a place in the Grand Final, after the wing came off worse in a sickening clash of heads with team-mate Doueihi as Jack Gosiewski crossed to put Manly ahead for a third time.

Prior to that, Moses Suli had played a starring role, producing powerful hand-offs to assist one try and score another as the Sea Eagles erased a 10-0 deficit to move into the box seat. 

The Bunnies had Cody Walker sin-binned for striking Gosiewski in the first period, which ended with them leading 18-16 courtesy of Murray's first try in the 40th minute.

Both regular-season meetings between these sides had been decided by a solitary point and this contest remained similarly tight after the interval.

Suli's score put Manly back in front, but Adam Reynolds pulled the Bunnies level with a penalty after Parker was yellow-carded for a cynical trip and Souths took advantage when Manly were reduced to 12 men for a second time, Trbojevic having pulled Dane Gagai back off the ball.

Related items

  • Hastings and Hardaker included in Great Britain squad Hastings and Hardaker included in Great Britain squad

    Jackson Hastings has been included in Great Britain's 24-man squad for the tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

    The Australian-born Hastings, who qualifies through a grandparent born in Plymouth, is rewarded after a stellar season with Salford that saw him lead the Red Devils to the Super League Grand Final, though they lost to St Helens in Saturday's showpiece.

    Super League's newly crowned Man of Steel could form a half-back partnership with Blake Austin, another born in Australia but available for selection via an English relative.

    Wigan Warriors full-back Zak Hardaker is also among the list of names for the first Lions tour since 2006.

    Saints quartet Lachlan Coote, Jonny Lomax, Luke Thompson and Alex Walmsley will be on the trip too, though club colleagues Morgan Knowles, James Roby, who had withdrawn from contention before the Grand Final, Tommy Makinson and Mark Percival were all unavailable.

    Coach Wayne Bennett had already confirmed 11 of the touring party through the England squad for the upcoming World Cup Nines tournament.

    "It was pretty tough actually, with a lot of players in contention. A couple of guys got injured and that’s taken a bit of the pressure off, and given a couple of other guys opportunities," Bennett said.

    "I think we’ve got a pretty good squad which is more than representative of the best players in the game in England and Australia."

    Great Britain, who will be captained by James Graham, face a Tongan Invitational XIII on October 26 in New Zealand before a two-Test series against the Kiwis in November.

    The tour concludes with a one-off game against Papua New Guinea, which takes place in Port Moresby on November 16.

     

    Great Britain squad in full: James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons) Blake Austin (Warrington Wolves) John Bateman (Canberra Raiders) Tom Burgess (South Sydney) Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves) Jake Connor (Hull FC) Lachlan Coote (St Helens) Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors) Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors) Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils) Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters) Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves) Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders) Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves) Josh Jones (Salford Red Devils) Jonny Lomax (St Helens) Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves) Luke Thompson (St Helens) Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers) Alex Walmsley (St Helens) Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders) Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons) George Williams (Wigan Warriors).

  • NRL and Storm investigating Asofa-Solomona following Bali incident NRL and Storm investigating Asofa-Solomona following Bali incident

    Melbourne Storm officials met Nelson Asofa-Solomona on Monday after launching an investigation into an incident involving the forward in Bali.

    Footage on social media appeared to show the New Zealand international being embroiled in a street brawl at the weekend.

    The NRL Integrity Unit and the Storm are investigating the incident and Melbourne will establish the facts before deciding whether to take any action.

    A Storm statement said: "CEO Dave Donaghy and representatives of the club's football department staff, including a player wellbeing and welfare manager, met with Nelson in Melbourne today [Monday] as part of the club's investigation.

    "Storm has provided an update to the NRL Integrity Unit. Storm will be looking at all the facts involved in this incident and will reserve its position on any possible ramifications until every aspect has been properly assessed and considered.

    "The RLPA [Rugby League Players Association] has been consulted and will continue to be engaged through the process."

    An NRL spokesperson said: "Melbourne Storm advised the NRL Integrity Unit of an incident involving a player on holidays Bali.

    "The Integrity Unit is working with both the Storm and the player to determine what has happened. The Integrity Unit takes these matters very seriously."

  • England captain O'Loughlin to miss Great Britain Lions tour England captain O'Loughlin to miss Great Britain Lions tour

    Sean O'Loughlin will not be included in the Great Britain Lions' tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed.

    O'Loughlin was named in Bennett's most recent training squad ahead of the four-match tour, which starts against Tonga in Hamilton on October 26.

    However, the England and Wigan Warriors captain - who played in the last Great Britain side in 2007 - will not feature in the travelling party after a pectoral injury restricted him to 18 Super League appearances this term.

    Tom Makinson joins the 36-year-old in sitting out the tour, having dislocated his shoulder in St Helens' Grand Final win over Salford at Old Trafford on Saturday.

    "I've admired Sean as a player for a long time, and I've thoroughly enjoyed working with him with England," Bennett said of O'Louglin.

    "He's been an outstanding leader of the team on and off the field, with the ability to play in any position, and his combination of skill and toughness.

    "It was important that I spoke to him and we agreed on an outcome, and hopefully it will help him come back fresh next season."

    James Graham seems the likely candidate to replace O'Loughlin as captain, with Sam Burgess having also pulled out of the squad due to a shoulder injury.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.