Eagles rock Vegas as DCE and Brooks make sweet music

The Sea Eagles have produced a powerhouse second half to grab their slice of rugby league history with a 36-24 win over the Rabbitohs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

After a tense and tight first half it was Daly Cherry-Evans and Lule Brooks who took charge in the second 40 to guide Manly to victory in the first ever premiership match played outside Australia or New Zealand.

Both sides traded sets early before Rabbitohs centre Richie Kennar savoured a special moment with the game's first try in the seventh minute.

It was Cody Walker who put Souths on the attack with a chip and regather before Damien Cook jumped out of dummy half and put Kennar over on the left edge. Latrell Mitchell's conversion made it 6-0 to the Rabbitohs.

A dropped ball coming out of his own end by Manly centre Reuben Garrick in the 12th minute gave the Rabbitohs a shot at more points but Lachlan Ilias split the ball cold and the pressure was released.

The Sea Eagles looked set to hit back in the 18th minute when speedster Jason Saab found himself in open space but a superb chase and ankle tap by Ilias cut him down. Cherry-Evans tried to thread a grubber through on the next play but came up with a knock on when the ball rebounded back to him off a defender.

A clever grubber by Brooks forced a knock on from Mitchell and the Sea Eagles capitalised straight from the centre field scrum when Haumole Olakau'atu powered over from close range to lock the game up at 6-6.

Come the 29th minute and Brooks' sharp footwork got him through the line but the ball came loose as he reached out to try and get it down.

A magic moment two minutes later for Jacob Gagai on NRL debut when a bullet pass from Mitchell gave him a shot in the right corner and he left Jaxson Paulo in his wake to touch down out wide. Mitchell missed the conversion but Souths led 10-6.

Superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic looked to have grabbed Manly's second in the 35th minute but a desperation tackle by Cook forced the ball to come loose just short of the line.

Three minutes later there was no denying Saab after he intercepted a Mitchell pass on his own side of halfway and sprinted 60 metres to dot down under the posts and Garrick's conversion put Manly ahead 12-10 at the break.

A mistake by Saab in the 43rd minute invited Souths into field position and Mitchell made Manly pay with a trademark try from close range to give his team a 14-12 lead.

Four minutes later it was Mitchell again with brilliant hands to put prolific tryscorer Alex Johnston over for his first try of the season and 188th of his career. The Bunnies' No.1 gun piloted the conversion from touch for a 20-12 lead.

South Sydney then returned the favour with a Davvy Moale mistake and the Sea Eagles hit back through Lachlan Croker with a slick try out of dummy half. Garrick added the extras to close the gap to two points.

Four minutes later the Sea Eagles were in again when Tom Trbojevic put brother Ben over for his fifth career try and Anthony Seibold's men led by four.

The Sea Eagles went further ahead in the 61st minute when a pinpoint Cherry-Evans grubber out of dummy half set Garrick up for Manly's fifth try of the night. A superb sideline conversion by Garrick made it 30-20.

Try as they might the Rabbitohs were unable to close the gap as a poor offload by Tevita Tatola and a knock on by Mitchell cruelled any chance they had of a comeback before Brooks iced the win for Manly with a late try.

Original article

Story first published by: NRL.com

Martin Lenehan - NRL Senior Journalist