Souths 22 Sea Eagles 10

Destroyer in chief: Greg Inglis swats aside the challenge of Manly’s Jamie Lyon.

Destroyer in chief: Greg Inglis swats aside the challenge of Manly's Jamie Lyon. Photo: Anthony Johnson

It was tough, it was gritty, and arguably undeserved for the most part of the game – but South Sydney are back.

Coach Michael Maguire pulled two rabbits out of the hat bringing back the dynamic duo of Greg Inglis and John Sutton, but it was the smallest rabbit of the lot who inflicted the most damage to resurrect his side's stuttering season in a 22-10 win over Manly.

Time
80.00
Team
SOU
Score
22
Team
MAN
Score
10
South Sydney versus Manly
View Match Statistics
Players McQueen, Merritt, Inglis, Farrell Tries 4 Tries 2 Players Lyon, Taufua
Players Reynolds 3/4 (75%) Conversions 3 Conversions 1 Players Lyon 1/2 (50%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

Manly did very little wrong and looked certain to win their first game of the season against a top four team, but then entered Adam Reynolds.

It was a stroke of genius from the South Sydney halfback when his side had their backs firmly against the wall that ignited what may be a season-defining resurgence from the Rabbitohs.

In front of a record crowd of 20,060 at Bluetongue Stadium, Reynolds produced one of the bravest plays of the season when he drilled a short goal-line drop out between two Manly players and into touch to win possession back for his side just when Manly looked like landing the killer blow.

It proved to be the catalyst for an inspiring fightback, with the Rabbitohs scoring three tries in the final 20 minutes on the back of the boot of Reynolds to come back from 10-6 down and keep their minor premiership hopes alive.

A loss against the Sea Eagles on Friday night would have left the Rabbitohs in danger of dropping out of the top two, but Manly's inability to convert their dominance into points has ended their hopes of a home game in the opening week of the finals.

The Sea Eagles dominated the battle of the forwards and dictated terms for the first hour until Reynolds' masterstroke turned the game on its head.

South Sydney lock Jeff Lima could find himself in hot water after yet another questionable tackle from a Rabbitohs forward, twisting the leg of Anthony Watmough in what Phil Gould described as "against the spirit of the game".

With Sam Burgess still to serve another week on his two-game ban for a "squirrel grip" on Melbourne's Will Chambers, Lima could join him on the sidelines for the tackle that left Watmough in pain.

After a near perfect first attacking and defensive set to start the match, Daly Cherry-Evans managed to get around Sutton to put Jamie Lyon in for the first try of the night in just the third minute.

Despite dominating the opening passages of the game, the Sea Eagles conceded the next try when Adam Reynolds' chip kick found a leaping Chris McQueen to level the scores at 6-6 after 15 minutes.

Jorge Taufua then latched on to cut out a pass from Brett Stewart to score his 17th try of the season and give Manly a 10-6 lead, but all eyes were on Inglis as he lay on the turf clutching at his right knee.

Thankfully for Souths he got back on his feet and went into the sheds with his teammates trailing 10-6.

Manly had an opportunity to extend their lead just after the break but Inglis' remarkable show of strength forced David Williams into touch when he looked certain to score in the corner, then only a lack of conclusive evidence prevented Steve Matai from doing what Williams couldn't.

After Reynolds' pivotal goal-line drop-out, he forced a repeat set from the ensuing set, which then allowed Nathan Merritt to finish off a sweeping backline play, which Reynolds converted from the sideline to give his side a 12-10 lead.

An Issac Luke grubber which bounced off the posts then resulted in Inglis taking the lead out to 18-10 when he scored his 13th try from 15 games this season, before Kiwi hooker Issac Luke set up the final try of the night for Dylan Farrell to seal the deal.

SOUTH SYDNEY 22 (D Farrell G Inglis C McQueen N Merritt tries A Reynolds 3 goals) bt MANLY 10 (J Lyon J Taufua tries J Lyon goal) at Bluetongue Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 20,060.