The Sea Eagles will return to Allianz stadium next weekend in a bid to keep their finals campaign alive after going down to the Rabbitohs 40-24 in the second qualifying final on Friday night.
With a host of key forwards missing, the Sea Eagles struggled to match it with the South Sydney forward pack as the red and green blew out to a 40-0 lead inside the hour mark.
The Sea Eagles managed to score the final 24 points of the match to take some momentum into their elimination final next weekend.
The Rabbitohs exploded out of the blocks, scoring 22-answered first half points to blow Manly out of the water.
Halfback Adam Reynolds activated the first half onslaught as he dived on a pinpoint grubber kick to draw first blood.
Manly struggled to contain the big Rabbitohs forward pack and soon after saw themselves 12 points down after Luke Keary combined with halves partner Reynolds to dive on the no.7’s grubber kick.
Lote Tuqiri then extended his sides lead, soaring above his opposite number Jorge Taufua to plant the ball down on the try line.
It was happening all too easy for South Sydney. Alex Johnston the next Rabbitoh to cross the line as the away side went into half time leading the line break count 6-0.
If Geoff Toovey was disappointed with his side’s first 40 minutes, his mood would have went from bad to worse as the second half began much like the first, with Reynolds scoring his second of the night to all but seal victory after 42 minutes.
The pint-size halfback did it all himself as he ran to the line and kicked through Manly’s defence to win the race to the ball and score inches inside the dead ball line.
Dylan Walker added to Manly’s woes as he pierced through a whole in the defence, before Johnston crossed for his second to take the lead out to 40-0.
The Sea Eagles finally had something to smile about in the 64th minute as Brett Stewart linked up with Jorge Taufua following a break from the winger to score Manly’s first try of the night.
The Sea Eagles soon had their second after skipper Jamie Lyon jumped on a loose ball in the in goal. Manly came home with a wet sail as Tom Symonds and Cheyse Blair crossed to add some respectability to the final scoreline.