Phil Gould - Sun Herald - 09/08/15
What an incredible performance by the Manly Sea Eagles in their complete annihilation of the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Brookvale on Friday night.
I would rate this Manly victory as one of the top three performances I have seen by any NRL team this season. It was that good. In fact, it was so dominant, it has you thinking just how far this team might go in this competition. They are now in such good form that I don't think there is a ceiling on where this 2015 Manly campaign might end. It's an incredible turnaround on some of the rubbish they produced earlier in the season. Mind you, they did have injury issues and other distractions. Right now though, they are as good as any team in the competition
When Manly win, invariably it's their halves and classy back-line players who receive all the plaudits. They were outstanding again on Friday night.
But it was the grit and grunt of the unheralded Manly forward pack that set the foundations for this dominant win. They were terrific.
Yep, this win had a real WOW factor about it.
Conversely, I think we might have witnessed exactly where the defending premiers South Sydney currently sit in the pecking order of possible 2015 title contenders.
They were seriously lacking where it mattered most in this contest. It kind of gave you a feeling that we have seen Souths' best already and they don't have another level to go to for the finals series ahead. Their power game certainly helps them stand over some of the lesser equipped teams in the competition. However, whenever a team has stood up to them this season, Souths have been found wanting.
Their attacking game is pretty much a repeat of the same stuff over and over again. They couldn't get their most dangerous attacking weapon Greg Inglis into the game anywhere near often enough. There were moments during the second half where you felt Souths were frustrated and even conceding they had run out of ideas. This was not the performance of a team heading to premiership glory.
Perhaps an early indication of the mindset of these two teams came where Souths elected to take a penalty goal to lead 2-0. Manly then refused two opportunities to kick close-range penalty goals; instead choosing to play on in pursuit of tries. They scored on both occasions. Suddenly they lead 10-2. The psychological war was won and the game was virtually over from that point.
Manly too good. Souths will have cause for concern.
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