Souths upset Manly to boost finals hopes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Souths upset Manly to boost finals hopes

By Liam FitzGibbon 08/08/2009 08:50:59 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney came crashing back to earth as a season-ending injury to captain Roy Asotasi overshadowed a stunning 36-22 upset NRL win over reigning premiers Manly on Saturday night.

The Rabbitohs moved to within a point of the top eight with their fourth victory in five matches, after overcoming an early 12-point deficit at Brookvale Oval.

But their post-match joy was short-lived after coach Jason Taylor had to tell his players their inspirational captain would miss at least six months after damaging the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The injury also rules the New Zealand international out of the Four Nations tournament in England in November.

Asotasi suffered the injury as he was dragged down just short of the line in the 65th minute, in another cruel blow after he missed the end of last season and New Zealand's World Cup-winning campaign with a pectoral injury.

"I'm not having any luck in the last three years, I guess I'm going to have to start all over again," a shattered Asotasi said.

"I guess the only good news is that I'll be right for next year.

"But I'm disappointed I can't be with the boys as the march for the finals.

"I'm done for (the World Cup) ... Once the doc said it was my ACL, it's a six-month injury, so all that has evaporated."

Taylor said he wanted to tell the players about the injury as soon as they entered the change rooms.

"It's enormously sobering and all of us are very disappointed for him," Taylor said.

"His performance in the first half tonight is what got us the victory and to have that happen to him is very upsetting."

Despite the injury, Souths turned in arguably their best performance of the year against the Sea Eagles, who are now hanging on the fringe of the top eight after successive losses.

Tries to Tony Williams and Anthony Watmough put the Eagles up by 12 but Souths exploded into life with four tries in a 13-minute period.

Merritt kicked off the revival when he capitalised on a pin-point grubber kick from John Sutton in the 16th minute.

The Rabbitohs then got within two when Fetuli Talanoa planted the ball millimetres inside the touchline and they had the lead when 22-year-old winger Chris McQueen scored on debut.

McQueen turned provider in the 29th minute when he set up Beau Champion.

Manly threatened a comeback when Tony Williams scored his second with 20 minutes remaining but both Merritt and Champion bagged doubles to put the result beyond doubt.

Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler said his side was paying for poor discipline and ball control but was also again frustrated with inconsistencies in the penalty count.

"I don't know what they're trying to do, what their aim is, what their pattern is," Hasler said of the referees.

"Maybe at their conference at the end of the year they can tell us."

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