The match looked all but wrapped up for Souths, but a late surge by the Sea Eagles got them to within two points, and the game could have gone to extra time, but the kick from Daly Cherry Evans from the sideline missed, and Souths won 32-30.
The match was full of top performances though, with 19-year old Dylan Farrell scoring three tries, Nathan Merritt scoring two, and Jamie Buhrer and William Hopoate Jr. scoring two tries each also.
A player who should perhaps be given credit for two of Farrell’s tries was debutant, Kane Morgan, who laid on the passes for Farrell’s tries.
He soon became a villain however, when he failed to hold onto a Kieran Foran kick, allowing Jamie Buhrer, playing on the wing due to some injuries, to score.
Kieran Foran, who is in the form of his life, was one of the keys for Manly, and he never gave in, and laid on several passes for try assists, and had a great all-round game.
After Souths went ahead 32-14, courtesy of three tries in 8 minutes, the match seemed all but over, but the Sea Eagles never gave in, with Watmough, Oldfield and Hoppa Jr. crossing the line to produce a tense finish.
For coach John Lang, despite waiting anxiously for the DCE kick, and despite his side falling away late in the game, he believed that they still deserved to win.
“It’s never over until it’s over, we were running out of gas, we were out of interchanges, we just couldn’t get the ball,” Lang said.
“We’ve let sides back into the game too often this season, but I think it was a step in the right direction even though we are not really where we want to be.”
For Manly coach Des Hasler, he was disappointed not to win the game, but was displeased at conceding 32 points.
“I thought we were good enough to win it. We’re not happy with the 32 points we had posted against us,” Hasler said.
“Brett hurt his hamstring in training yesterday, but he will be fine for next week.”
Dally M Points
3 Roy Asotasi
2 Dylan Farrell
1 Kieran Foran
South Sydney 32 (D Farrell 3, N Merritt 2, F Talanoa tries; C Sandow 2 goals, I Luke 2 goals)Manly 30 (J Buhrer 2, D Harrison, A Watmough, M Oldfield, W Hopoate tries; D Cherry-Evans 3 goals). Referees: A Klein, A Devcich. Crowd: 18,108.