Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

NRL: Manly beat Souths

Brett Stewart of the Eagles scores a try. Photo / Getty Images
Brett Stewart of the Eagles scores a try. Photo / Getty Images

Manly 30
Souths 20

Manly survived a horror start to beat South Sydney last night and book a place in the NRL grand final.

Geoff Toovey's side will play the winner of tonight's other preliminary final between the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights after beating the Rabbitohs 30 - 20 in a staggering turnaround at the Olympic stadium in Sydney.

On a tragic occasion for Souths coach Michael Maguire, whose mother passed away earlier in the day, the Rabbitohs were over run by the notoriously tough Many outfit.

Manly fullback Brett Stewart overcame a hamstring injury to star as Souths, the darlings of the 2013 competition, faded badly. The Sea Eagles made a mockery of claims they were battered and tired, dominating Souths who were seeking a first grand final appearance and title since 1971.

Souths, coming off a week's break, had a flying start with tries to John Sutton and Nathan Merritt giving them a 14 - 0 lead after 10 minutes. Issac Luke was testing Manly out of dummy half and the big Souths forwards looked ready to pound the Sea Eagles, who had endured two tough contests prior to this match.

Manly looked shell-shocked but their finals experience came into play as they re-grouped superbly and dominated the rest of the game. South Sydney's exceptional defence on their line kept big George Rose and a couple of his Sea Eagles team mates at bay for a while, but not for long. It was Manly who roared into the second half, bringing a try to Matt Ballin which reduced the deficit to 12 - 14.

Manly hit the lead in the 57th minute when the Stewart brothers combined to put captain Jamie Lyon outside his marker Bryson Goodwin.

Lyon slid into the corner and landed the tricky conversion for good measure. Souths were reeling, the lead from their brilliant start having evaporated.

Minutes later, Manly wing David Williams produced one of the great try scoring finishes, somehow beating the sideline and a hit form Greg Inglis to plant the ball in the corner. Lyon landed another sideline conversion.

Manly forward Richie Fa'aoso was taken to hospital for x-rays on a shoulder/back injury while team mate Glenn Stewart was put on report for a high shot.

Manly 30 ( Brett Stewart, Matt Ballin, Jamie Lyon, David Williams, Tom Symonds tries; Lyon 5 goals), Souths 20 (John Sutton, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Walker tries; Adam Reynolds 3 goals, Issac Luke goal).

Halftime: Souths 14 - 6.

- NZ Herald

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