South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters clashed for the final time in the 2020 regular season, with the Rabbitohs needing a win for a home tie next week.
The game didn’t start too brightly for the Roosters, as Jake Friend had to be taken off for a Head Injury Assessment in just the third minute.
That didn’t stop the Roosters from crossing though.
James Tedesco took the ball to the line to leave Josh Morris, one on one with Campbell Graham.
Morris used his strength to beat the young Rabbitohs centre and score.
Despite the Roosters nearly going over for a second, it was Souths who levelled up.
Cody Walker sliced through after a set restart, and just two tackles later, Adam Reynolds played a nice shirt pass to Walker who crossed for his 50th career try.
Just before the 20 minute mark, the Rabbitohs attacked the Roosters right-edge.
Alex Johnston broke down the wing, and passed early to Bailey Sironen.
Sironen then passed back outside to Johnston, who ran around and score beneath the sticks.
Campbell Graham looked to have scored on the right wing after powering over Tupou but Ashley Klein deemed that Graham had knocked on into Tupou as he attempted the ground the ball.
On the half-hour mark, the Rabbitohs did manage to grab their third try.
Cody Walker managed to get the ball away quickly with a looping pass on the left-edge.
The ball found Johnston who crossed for his 100th career try at just 25 years old.
The Rabbitohs didn’t want half-time to come, as Corey Allan found space on the outside before kicking back on the inside, to which Graham reacted quickest and bounced on the loose ball to score.
Souths were piling the pressure on the Roosters, and Walker looked to put Mark Nicholls through the gap.
However, Luke Keary tackled the forward before he contacted the ball.
The loose ball wasn’t cleaned up by Sonny Bill Williams and Nicholls made sure the loose ball was grounded.
However, Klein couldn’t clean up there was no knock-on and Keary was lucky to not receive a yellow card.
Reynolds did take the shot at goal and push Souths 26-4 ahead.
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 26-4 Sydney Roosters
The opening stages of the second half were all South Sydney.
Reynolds got tied up in the middle of the park, which allowed Cody Walker to drift back to the right-edge, receive the offload and put Corey Allan over line with an offload of his own.
Following more errors from the Roosters, the home side crossed again.
Adam Reynolds dribbled a kick through on the last tackle, and Jaxson Paulo claimed the ball and grounded.
Unfortunately, Damien Cook got a hand to the ball before the winger claimed it and the score remained 32-4.
With 24 minutes remaining, a kick from Luke Keary bounced awkwardly for the Rabbitohs, and Josh Morris but Daniel Tupou kept his eye on the ball to regather and touch down on the right-wing.
On the hour mark, Graham dribbled a kick forward on the last tackle, and Cody Walker chased onto the ball, and raced into the corner for this second of the night.
A seventh Rabbitohs try came with ten minutes to go.
Reynolds kicked in behind once again, which wasn’t tidied up by Josh Morris.
This allowed Cameron Murray to get his hands on top of the loose ball and score.
The rout continued minutes later, and it was Johnston who grabbed his hat-trick.
Junior Tatlo managed to offload to Murray who then busted through the line, before keeping the ball alive himself.
Reynolds was the man with ball in hand and the half-back pushed the pass to Johnston to dive over for his third.
Straight from the kick-off, Souths scored again.
Johnston made a beautiful break on the left edge, thanks to beautiful work from Walker, Reynolds and Allan.
Johnston passed back inside to Allan to get past Tedesco.
Allan was about to score himself, until Johnston shouted for the ball to pick up his for his fourth try of the night.
A short kick-off from Luke Keary didn’t make the ten-metre line, and after a sweeping play from the right side, found Alex Johnston who beat the tackle of Matt Ikuvalu for his fifth try and top of the try-scoring table.
Adam Reynolds failed to convert from the touchline, but they still lead by 50.
With a few seconds left, Souths were awarded a penalty, which Reynolds struck sweetly between the upright to hit 60.
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 60-8 Sydney Roosters
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Allan, Johnston, Graham, Gagai, Paulo, Walker, Reynolds, Knight, Cook, Burgess, Sironen, Tatola, Murray
Interchanges: Cartwright, Nicholls, Sele, Koloamatangi
Tries: Walker (2), Johnston (5), Graham, Allan, Murray
Goals: Reynolds (10/12)
Tedesco, Tupou, J. Morris, Aubusson, Ikuvalu, Keary, Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Cordner, Tupouniua, Crichton
Interchanges: Lam, Faamausili, Butcher, Williams
Tries: Morris, Tupou
Goals: Flanagan (0/2)
Referee: G. Sutton
Touch Judges: C. Butler, D. Munro
Video Referee: A. Klein
Image Source: @NRL (twitter)