Barely six month’s after the Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs met in Gosford in what went down as one of the game’s of the season last year, the Sea Eagles have claimed their first win of the season in an enthralling clash at Central Coast Stadium on Friday night.
Without two of the club’s biggest stars in Brett and Glenn Stewart, the Sea Eagles produced a display that would have sent a deafening message to the rest of the competition.
After the disappointment of their round one golden point loss to Melbourne, the Sea Eagles vowed to improve, and improve they did.
Sea Eagles winger Cheyse Blair came oh so close to claiming first points when he leapt above his opposite number, but he was unable to hold onto the ball in what would have been a magic try.
But he didn’t have to wait long for another chance as the Sea Eagles went through the hands to eventually see the winger dive over in the corner.
The half produced little scoring highlights, and it appeared as though the home side would take a 6-0 lead into the break.
However, the Rabbitohs were able to apply pressure and managed to score a fortunate try on the stroke of half time.
Sam Burgess the man picking up a loose ball to dive under the Sea Eagles defence as he reduced the margin to two-points.
Both sides were their own worst enemies in the first half as they coughed up position.
However, ball secure improved dramatically after half time, and it was the Bunnies who reaped the rewards first.
Centre Beau Champion scoring in the corner to have his side take the lead for the first time in the match.
Leading by four, the Rabbitohs were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks, as Adam Reynolds made no mistake in extending their advantage to a converted try.
The Sea Eagles, without their lethal attacking weapons in Brett and Glenn Stewart, were suddenly on the back foot and under the pump.
But it took a piece of individual brilliance to haul the Sea Eagles back. Jamie Buhrer, the man who replaced Glenn at lock, showed swift footwork to step past the defence and put halfback Daly Cherry-Evans under the post.
Suddenly, the Sea Eagles, having leveled the scores, were coming in for the kill. Camped in the Rabbitohs territory, the home side came within inches of the line on a number of occasions, but a resol;ute Souths defensive line weren’t about to break.
Skipper Jamie Lyon had a crack at a surprising field goal attempt but was unable to pop the ball over.
It was rugby league at its best as both sides went punch for punch in a bid for the match winner.
But with four minutes remaining, winger David Williams took an intercept on his own line to have his side begin the set at half way.
The Rabbitohs forwards struggled to get back into the defensive line and were eventually penalised on their own 30-metre line.
Lyon then slotted the ball over from in front to have his side leading 14-12 in the dying minutes.
It proved enough for the Sea Eagles to claim their first victory of the season .