Manly Down On Troops

Source: Braden Fastier/
Manly will miss classy fullback Brett Stewart against Souths. Source: Braden Fastier/
Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs

Friday, March 14 – 6.45pm (AEST)

Bluetongue Stadium

Things you need to know:

Brett Stewart is gone from anywhere between one and four weeks depending on who you listen to after straining a hamstring in the loss to Melbourne. The Sea Eagles are a shadow of their normal selves when the Snake isn't at the back, but they at least have David 'Wolfman' Williams returning to the wing. That allows Peta Hiku to take Stewart's place at No.1. Prop Jason King is slated to make his first appearance in almost 12 months following a shoulder reconstruction. The Rabbitohs have named an unchanged side.

Reason to watch:
Souths turned on the best performance of round one to comfortably dispose of defending champs the Roosters. The Bunnies displayed just the right mix of aggression in defence, intelligent ball movement and sheer individual brilliance and power to blow the Chooks off the park. Greg Inglis racked up a hat-trick in an ominous warning that he's set for another stellar season.

Reason to turn away:
If you're a Manly fan you probably want to switch off around the half hour mark. That's when things started to unravel for the maroon and whites against Melbourne, coming on the back of Brett Stewart's departure and a wave of Storm penalties. Early days – and this is a champion side we are talking about – but the way the wheels fell off was alarming.

Say what:
"It was very unlike a Manly team so I know they’re going to be out fired up this week and we have to make sure we're well and truly on our game." – Souths coach Michael Maguire is expecting a backlash from the Sea Eagles following their Storm collapse.

Final word:
There is a lot to like about South Sydney. They look determined to right the wrongs of last year and, if they can maintain the rage, boy are they in for one helluva of a season. Their finals demise last season came at the hands of Manly so there is no shortage of motivation. The Sea Eagles will love the fact the heavy money is heading Souths' way because no-one thrives more on being written off. But based on what we've seen so far – and the fact B Stewart is out – it's the Bunnies all the way. Souths by 8.

Coverage on Channel 9

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