One of rugby league's great rivalries comes around again this Friday night when the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles tackle the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
We take a look at the Round 8 Telstra Premiership match at Central Coast Stadium through our 'maroon and white glasses'.
The Sea Eagles sit in seventh place on the Telstra Premiership Ladder with four wins from seven matches with the Rabbitohs in eighth position with three wins.
Manly will be determined to get on the front foot early after being dominated by the Sharks in the first half at Pointsbet Stadium last Thursday. The Sea Eagles showed what they are capable of in attack, coming home strongly in the second half in their 34-22 loss.
The Sea Eagles welcome back props Martin Taupau (Covid protocols) and Sean Keppie (head knock) for the Rabbitohs clash.
Exciting youngster Tolu Koula will be out to make another strong impression in the centres, just like he did in the round four win over the Canberra Raiders in Mudgee.
The Sea Eagles will continue to monitor the fitness of second-rower Josh Schuster (ankle) after he was named in the squad for his first NRL game in 2022.
The Rabbitohs have scored three more tries than the Sea Eagles this season and have plenty of extra motivation with five-eighth Cody Walker playing his 150th NRL game for the club.
Walker will go head-to-head with Kieran Foran, who has been in great form for the Sea Eagles this season.
Fullback for Rabbitohs is number 1 Blake TaaffeFullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Reuben Garrick
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 2 Alex JohnstonWinger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jason Saab
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 3 Isaiah TassCentre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
Centre for Rabbitohs is number 4 Campbell GrahamCentre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Tolutau Koula
Winger for Rabbitohs is number 5 Josh MansourWinger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Christian Tuipulotu
Five-Eighth for Rabbitohs is number 6 Cody WalkerFive-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Kieran Foran
Halfback for Rabbitohs is number 7 Lachlan IliasHalfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 8 Tevita TatolaProp for Sea Eagles is number 8 Sean Keppie
Hooker for Rabbitohs is number 9 Damien CookHooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Lachlan Croker
Prop for Rabbitohs is number 10 Thomas BurgessProp for Sea Eagles is number 17 Toafofoa Sipley
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 11 Keaon Koloamatangi2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Karl Lawton
2nd Row for Rabbitohs is number 12 Jai Arrow2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 22 Josh Schuster
Lock for Rabbitohs is number 13 Cameron MurrayLock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 14 Siliva HaviliInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 16 Davvy MoaleInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 12 Ethan Bullemor
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 19 Jaxson PauloInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Dylan Walker
Interchange for Rabbitohs is number 24 Shaquai MitchellInterchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Ben Trbojevic
Replacement for Rabbitohs is number 18 Trent PeoplesReplacement for Sea Eagles is number 16 Kurt De Luis
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
- Senior Review Official: Chris Butler
Battle of the Hookers
The heavy workload Manly hooker Lachlan Croker produces each week is never lost on his team-mates.
On Friday, Croker will do battle with incumbent NSW hooker Damien Cook in what is shaping up to be a great duel.
Both players get through an enormous amount of work in defence with Croker set to pass 300 tackles for the season against the Rabbitohs. He made 42 alone in last week’s loss to Cronulla.
Central Coast Stadium has always been a happy hunting ground for the Sea Eagles.
Manly supporters have traditionally turned out in force at Gosford and it should be no different this week.
Remember the Friday night beauty there last April when Daly Cherry-Evans landed a 79th minute field goal to give Manly its first victory for the year in the 13-12 win over the Warriors.
Furthermore, the Sea Eagles have won 16 of their 21 matches played at Gosford since 2007.
Manly and South Sydney have played each other four times at Central Coast with the honours split two wins apiece.
The last time the two teams played in Gosford was in round two of the 2014 season with Cherry-Evans scoring a try in the 14-12 win.
Manly vs Souths at Gosford
Rd 4, 2011: Souths 32 d Manly 30
Rd 23, 2012: Manly 23 d Souths 6
Rd 23, 2013: Souths 22 d Manly 10
Rd 2, 2014: Manly 14 d Souths 12
Head to Head
The Sea Eagles will also be looking to end a five game losing streak against the Rabbitohs.
Manly’s last win against Souths came in round four, 2019, after a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal in Golden Point at Brookvale.
Last Time We Met
If the Sea Eagles need any further motivation, they only need to think of the pain they felt after having their 2021 season ended by the Rabbitohs in last year’s Preliminary Final.
The Rabbitohs ran in four first half tries to lead 22-0 at half-time before advancing to the Grand Final with a 36-16 win at Suncorp Stadium.
The Sea Eagles made it through to the Grand Final qualifier after losing their first four matches of the season before making a superb charge to the finals to finish the regular season in fourth place.
Four for Gaz!
Reuben Garrick must be a good chance of scoring against the Rabbitohs if recent form is any indication.
Garrick has scored four tries in his last three games against Souths, crossing for doubles at Homebush in 2020 and at Suncorp last year.