For Souths new coach Michael Maguire, the philosophy that he has instilled in his side to win games, has been simple. Win games through your defence, and let your attack do the talking.
In this contest however, it was the Manly Sea Eagles who lived up to that philosophy, as a combination of their defence and attack, saw them shut down the Rabbitohs comprehensively, resulting in a 23-6 win over the Bunnies, in front of almost 20,000 fans at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.
It was the Bunnies lack of execution and pedestrian errors let them down, in what was a stark contrast to the Manly side of the second half – with their clinical play and good ball-control on hand for all to see.
In what was regarded as a tough game, Manly coach Geoff Toovey is pleased that his side managed to secure the two points.
“We’ll take the positives out of the game, I thought we did a good job defensively,” Toovey said.
“We’ve had a tough couple of weeks with the travel. Tonight was a bit of a home game for us, we have played here before – it’s a great venue.”
For Souths coach Michael Maguire, the answer was clear – when the gameplan that is not in place is executed, they are defeated.
A defeat that he says was a good lesson for his side to learn, as they get closer to the finals.
“There’s a lot of disappointment in the changing room, but as a group we got a lot out of it as well,” Maguire said.
Souths co-captain Mick Crocker said that it came down to the side who wanted semi-finals football more.
“I think they played semi-final football and we didn’t,” he said.
“They were excellent, that’s a premiership winning team right there.”