Farah debuts for Souths as Walker stars for Manly
RUGBY LEAGUE: Manly's changing of the guard was in full swing with Dylan Walker and Daly Cherry-Evans starring for the Sea Eagles in their 22-16 win over South Sydney.
Manly came into the match with a star-studded backline which featured the likes of Cherry-Evans, Walker, Tom Trbojevic and new recruit Blake Green, while the Rabbitohs were boosted by new recruits Robbie Farah and Robbie Rochow. George Burgess and Jason Clark were the only other recognisable faces for the Rabbitohs.
Farah went close to scoring the first try, only to be fumble the ball over the tryline. The NSW hooker was a late addition to the Rabbitohs squad at his former home ground, and took advantage of some tiring big men in the middle of the field. He played the opening 40 minutes and showed no ill-effects from a ruptured biceps which threatened to delay his start to the season.
Following the retirements of club legends Steve Matai, Jamie Lyon and Brett Stewart, the new-look Sea Eagles showed their backline had plenty of punch. Lyon was a near permanent fixture on Manly's right edge since his arrival in 2007. But the Sea Eagles have found their long-term replacement in Walker.
He had an ill-fated stint at five-eighth last season, but returned to his fleet-footed best against his former club. He scored a try and laid on another as his right-side combination with new teammate Curtis Sironen and Cherry-Evans looked menacing. Walker has also taken over from Lyon's goalkicking duties, slotting three from four.
Green kicked well and took plenty pressure off Cherry-Evans as he took control of Manly's left edge. The duo, along with Walker and Trbojevic played an unbroken 60 minutes before being replaced in front of 2564 people.
The match had to be delayed by 30 minutes as the temperature soared above 40 degrees for most of the day at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. Players were unable to warm up for the match until the temperature dropped below 40, with players greeted with a "cooler" 38 degrees for the 8pm kick-off.
Manly scored the opening three tries despite Souths looking the better of the two sides in the opening exchanges.
New recruit Jarred Kennedy scored Manly's first try after 10 minutes when he stormed onto a pass from Walker, who had drifted across field near the Rabbitohs tryline to create space for Kennedy.
A low second-tackle cross-field kick from Green gave Jorge Taufua some open space before he set up Jonathan Wright for the try to give the Sea Eagles a 12-0 halftime lead.
Manly scored early in the second half when Walker pounced on a loose ball to beat three defenders to score.
South Sydney crawled their way back through big Fijian winger Sitiveni Moceidreke and Siosifa Talakai to trail by 10.
Cherry-Evans clinched the victory for Manly with an early tackle kick produced a try for winger Peter Schuster before Ed Murphy scored a consolation touchdown for Souths.