With the New Zealand Warriors stunning the Cowboys last weekend, the South Sydney Rabbitohs would have to be wary of their opponents as they clashed at Bankwest Stadium.
After a slow start from South Sydney, the Warriors made sure they didn’t take too long to score try number one.
Blake Green took the ball to the line, and with the Rabbitohs defenders shooting up to block Tuivasa-Sheck, looped the ball over to David Fusitu’a for the returning winger to score.
Five minutes later, Souths pulled the scores level, as Cody Walker shifted the ball wide to Latrell Mitchell, who’s quick catch and pass to Campbell Graham gave the centre room to move to the outside, spin through the tackle of Peta Hiku, and stretched over to score.
Souths were once deep inside the Warriors half and looked to showed the visitors how to finish a scoring opportunity.
Adam Reynolds deft kick through should have been easily cleared by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but the full-back was beaten by the bounce. The ball was tapped back by Cameron Murray before going over the dead-ball line, and Braidon Burn seemed to ground the ball.
However, Burns knocked the ball on slightly before grounding, gifting the Warriors a seven tackle set.
With the Rabbitohs determined to stop the Warriors from scoring, they were pushing the boundaries in terms of discipline.
Latrell Mitchell was then caught offside after a fifth tackle kick, and Kodi Nikorima converted to level the scores just after the 15-minute mark.
Just after the 20th minute, Peta Hiku’s pass for intercepted by Dane Gagai just a few minutes later, and looked to put the Rabbitohs on the front foot.
However, Kodi Nikorima flopped on top of the winger after the tackle was complete and was sent to the sin-bin for his actions.
With the man advantage, South Sydney punished the visitors. Cameron Murray, instead of running the ball, stopped in his tracks and passed the ball outside to the onrushing Adam Reynolds, who walked in for the second try of the night.
After Reynolds was hit late by Karl Lawton after a fifth tackle kick, it allowed Souths to attack from just 10-metres out.
A few tackles later, Cody Walker, while in the middle of being tackled, dropped the ball onto his foot, which bounced perfectly for Braidon Burns for the try on the left edge.
Reynolds converted again for a 18-6 lead after half an hour.
With the Warriors putting pressure on the South Sydney line, they conceded three set restarts on the bounce, and Matt Cecchin had seen enough as he sent Cody Walker to the sin-bin for repeated offences.
David Fusitu’a looked, for all money, to be over in the right-hand corner, but a desperate defensive effort from Latrell Mitchell stopped the winger from dotting down and was lucky not to be penalised for a high tackle.
Burns and Mitchell then combined down the left-hand side and had an overlap against a backpedalling Warriors defence. However, a poor pass from Damien Cook on the run let Stephen Kearney’s side off the hook.
With half-time approaching, Latrell Mitchell once again took control of the ball at first receiver, and his miss pass out to Alex Johnston was perfectly weighted, and the winger raced away to score try number four for South Sydney just as the hooter sounded.
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-6 New Zealand Warriors
Despite an injury at the start of the half to Tom Amone within minutes of the half, it didn’t take Souths too long to extend their lead.
After a quick play the ball from Patrick Mago, Damien Cook ran at the line and popped the ball outside to Cody Walker, who on his return from the sin-bin dotted down, to score under the posts.
A few minutes later, Peta Hiku crossed the line after brushing off a number of South Sydney defenders. However, Latrell Mitchell managed to get his knees under the centre when trying to stop the grounding, the Hiku lost the ball.
With just under half an hour to go, the game got further away from the Warriors, as Cook twisted and turned his way to the ground despite the attention of three defenders to ground the ball when he should have been held up.
With Lachlan Burr leaving the field in the first half after a failed head injury assessment, things got worse for the Warriors as David Fusitu’a also failed his HIA, after that try saving high tackle from Mitchell at the end of the first half.
It looked as though the Warriors managed to pull a try back just after the hour mark, but Karl Lawton couldn’t quite gather to kick from Nikorima and the centre knocked-on.
Latrell Mitchell nearly treated yet another try for the Rabbitohs, as his little chip down the short side bounced into the hands of Johnston who offloaded inside to Burns, to dot down. Unfortunately, the offload drifted forward and the try was disallowed.
With ten minutes remaining, Souths picked up try number seven.
Reynolds and Walker combined once more, and the number six chipped in behind the Warriors defence, and the ball bounced perfectly for Johnston in the corner to pick up his second of the night.
With under five minutes to go, the Warriors looked to have picked up a consolation try, as Agnatius Paasi ran hard and fast at the Rabbitohs line and managed to ground the ball.
South Sydney looked to finish the game with a bit of flair, but a double knock-on from Campbell Graham and then Nikorima closed the game out.
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 40-12 New Zealand Warriors
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Mitchell, Gagai, Graham, Burns, Johnston, Walker, Reynolds, Tatola, Cook, Burgess, Su’A, Lowe, Murray
Interchanges: Knight, Mago, Amone, Sironen
Tries: Graham, Reynolds, Burns, Johnston (2), Walker, Cook
Goals: Reynolds (6/7)
New Zealand Warriors
Tuivasa-Sheck, Beale, Herbert, Hiku, Fusitu’a, Nikorima, Green, Taunoa-Brown, Egan, Burr, Katoa, Harris, Blair
Interchanges: Lawton, Faamausili, Murchie, Paasi
Tries: Fusitu’a, Paasi
Goals: Nikorima (2/3)
Referee: M. Cecchin
Touch Judges: B. Sharpe, J. Stone
Video Referee: B. Galea
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)