After being told to “Light it Up” in preparation for the finals, Sea Eagles fans chose to sample the Peninsulas finest herbs and were too paranoid to face an arduous 18km free bus ride to see their team in a home final against the Bunnies.
Rabbiotohs fans easily outnumbered the maroon and white and they had to travel all the way from Homebush (presumably).
The Manly players must have missed the change sheds at Brookvale too with the way they came out in the first half. Unable to have their pre-game ritual of pissing wherever they want and dodging falling rafters from the ceiling, the “Allianz” excuse started early in the week and indeed came to fruition. The big Souths pack was simply too good early on and Manly struggled to make ground, with no Sea Eagles forward finishing with 100+ metres for the match. Jason King must have been too busy worrying about all the cocaine he will be able to snort when he becomes a lawyer, as he only made 38 metres from 5 runs. Josh Starling not only looks vaguely like Kane Cleal, but he put in a Cleal Jr like performance with a massive 60 metres from 9 runs. Who would’ve thought Tom Symonds would have been the best in their pack and they would be missing Brett Kite this time of year?
The Manly backs were slightly better performing, with the exception of Jorge “HawHay” Tafua, who was peppered with precise Adam Reynolds bombs all night. Footage from Gavin Badgers ref-cam headset probably showed that he had 10 mosit/veiny dicks instead of fingers. It was the worst performance by a winger in a finals match since Wolfman bet on himself not contesting a bomb in last years grand final.
Although it would be easy and fun to bag Manly for another 30-40 paragraphs, some real credit needs to go towards to the Souths. I am now firmly an Adam Reynolds believer. He has had up and downs in first grade but is turning into a top-tier footballer very quickly. His kicking game is phenomenal, landing bombs on a 50 cent piece and weighting grubbers with scale like accuracy. He sure outplayed DCE last night (in Cherry’s defense it must be hard to play with daggers in your back). Luke Keary chimed in with a few good cameos and Sutton showed his ball playing could be useful on the edges. And then there is the speed men; Walker, Johnston, Auva’a. There hasn’t been this much concentrated association between speed and the NRL since Danny Wicks went on trial. Then old man Lote decided to get involved with some deft passing bringing it out from his own line and an aerial try that brought attention to CASA.
Isaac Luke however was the biggest difference between the teams, making metres at will and toying with the markers as well as not shirking his defensive duties. Matt Ballin is a bigger loss to Manly than anyone gave him credit for with his massive tackle count often overshadowing his organisational skills when in attack.
Although conceding 24 points in the second half, Souths fans will be happy to hear Michael Macguire put tobasco sauce in the post gate Gatorade/Powerade as retaliation. It is a timely week off for Souths as they need to construct a bigger bandwagon and do a course on the Heimlich maneuver in preparation for the further step they have recently struggled to make. Manly will go back and train hard at Brookvale (in pro and anti DCE groups) and return to Allianz next week for a second bit at the Cherry (pun intended)
Souths 40 d Manly 24