“I felt as though I had enough time to set myself and get a good strike. When it came off the boot, I was confident it was going in the right direction.”
Cherry-Evans also launched one from 60m out right on full-time that didn’t go close.
“That reminded me of the night at Campbelltown when I tried to kick [a goal] that far out. You know it’s not going to go in but you have to give it a crack,” Cherry-Evans said with a laugh.
The 12,304 fans, including Tony Abbott, stood as one when Cherry-Evans raised his arm in the air and was mobbed by his teammates.
Those same fans, however, groaned as one when Trbojevic clutched at his left hamstring straight after half-time with nobody within touching distance.
The gun No.1 suffered an injury to the same hamstring injury in pre-season and looks set for a stretch on the sidelines.
It was a shame because Trbojevic was inspirational in his return for Manly seven days earlier in their win over the Warriors, and showed his class early against Souths when he split Sam Burgess and Dane Gagai and bulldozed past Alex Johnston for the opening try.
Cherry-Evans was gutted for his good mate. When Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers are on the field – and you might as well throw the ever-improving Addin Fonua-Blake into the mix – Manly are always in with a fight.
Next Saturday’s road trip to Newcastle suddenly looks a little tougher.
“That was deflating, he’s a strike player, my head dropped,” Cherry-Evans said of Trbojevic’s injury. “My job is to compose myself and everyone else. We got in, had a chat about it, we’ve been there before and we’ve learned lessons before when Tom was out [the first two rounds].
“I thought we adapted well and I think the effort was there in the back end of the game to make up for Tom’s workload.
“Hopefully it’s dry weather moving forward because those first two rounds we didn’t get to play the style of football we would have liked with Brendan [Elliot] at the back – we played in two downpours, and that really stifled the game, and it’s obvious the last two weeks the brand of footy we like to play is suited to dry [weather].
“I’d like to think we’re a smart enough team to be prepared for Tom’s injury. I hope it’s not too long.”
Jake Trbojevic came up with arguably the play of the game when he smashed Campbell Graham and forced the ball free for Manaise Fainu to pick up the ball and score and give the home side an unlikely 12-10 lead.
Marty Taupau ran for 200m and improved the longer the game went, even though he was given a spell for a head-injury assessment despite initially clutching at his shoulder. He also somehow denied Cameron Murray a certain try in the first half.
Fonua-Blake also continued his blistering start to the season and is fast mowing down Taupau for the title of Manly’s best prop.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.