Manly’s NRL finals surge continues

Manly’s charge to the NRL finals has continued courtesy of a 28-8 defeat of South Sydney, with Peta Hiku scoring three tries.

The Sea Eagles dominated much of the round-22 fixture at Brookvale Oval on Friday night to turn a 14-2 halftime lead into a five-tries-to-one win.

Hiku scored tries in the 16th, 35th and 61st minutes and Jake Trbojevic crossed for a double as Manly secured their sixth win in their past eight games.

Manly will sit in ninth spot at the end of the round, two points out of the eight. Souths will remain in the top four after the round despite the loss.

In a forgettable night for the Rabbitohs, a 78th-minute try to Alex Johnston was the only time the visitors crossed the stripe before the crowd of 15,083.

On the back of 59 per cent of possession, the home side dominated the first half. Souths halfback Adam Reynolds opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the fifth minute but, after that, the Rabbitohs didn’t trouble the scorer.

Jake Trbojevic crossed first for Manly in the eighth minute, when he charged onto a Feleti Mateo pass and crashed over. Hiku added his first eight minutes later when a trademark Brett Stewart long ball found him unmarked for a 10-2 scoreline.

Manly continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges in and around the ruck, with Souths committing a number of handling errors in their own half to stifle any momentum they might have gained.

Some stubborn defence from Souths kept the Sea Eagles at bay until Hiku scored his second from a lovely Jamie Lyon pass late in the first half. Two missed conversions from Lyon meant a halftime lead of 14-2 for Manly.

Things continued in a similar fashion after the break with Manly enjoying the better of the yardage up front and out wide. Hiku’s third try put Manly out to 22-2 with 18 minutes to go, before Trbojevic’s second in the 74th minute sealed the win.

Former Sea Eagle Glenn Stewart was put on report for an early second-half high shot on Manly’s Steve Matai.

Kyle Turner was a late withdrawal for Souths after his concussion last weekend.

Jamie Lyon became the third Manly player to score 500 points at Brookvale after Graham Eadie and Matthew Ridge.

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