Penrith Panthers 2
Goals: Jamie Soward
Field Goals: nil
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Tries: Kirisome Auva’a, Nathan Merritt, Kyle Turner
Goals: Adam Reynolds 3
Field Goals: nil
Nathan Merritt became the all-time leading try scorer for South Sydney as they got the better of Penrith 18-2 at SportingBet Stadium.
Merritt’s 53rd minute try was his 145th in 231 appearances for the club, surpassing Benny Wearing’s total of 144 set eighty-one years earlier, in 1933.
In similar conditions to last weekend at SportingBet Stadium with driving rain and heavy conditions, both teams struggled with holding onto the ball as it became a cake of soap.
With both sides going into the break with penalty goals to Adam Reynolds and Jamie Soward, the Rabbitohs got the early jump in the second half with Greg Inglis setting up Kirisome Auva’a to score out wide. Merritt’s record breaking try followed soon after. South Sydney secured victory nine minutes from time when Kyle Turner was the benefactor of a dropped kick return from Josh Mansour.
Penrith had the better of field position in the first half but couldn’t convert on a number of occasions. Jamal Idris went close to scoring the opening try of the game and minutes later Soward’s kick for Mansour was cleverly deflected over touch in goal. Jeremy Latimore was held up following a penalty against Reynolds for which the Rabbitoh was placed on report for a chicken wing tackle.
The difference was South Sydney getting into good field position and converting their limited opportunities, along with their goal line defense repelling the Panthers on many occasions. A slight question mark over the Merritt try as in the lead-up it appeared Inglis after being tackled milked a penalty out of the officials as he dropped the ball getting up to play it. Following the penalty deep in the Rabbitohs half, Merritt went on to score.
South Sydney in victory were best served by Ben Te’o and Sam Burgess. John Sutton looked dangerous on a couple of occasions and Inglis was good at the back, snuffing out a late chance to Penrith youngster Dallin Watene-Zelezniak after a kick and chase. For the home side, Matt Moylan had a solid game at the back and Sika Manu caused some problems out wide for South Sydney.
South Sydney now move equal with Penrith on six points and face Canterbury in the Good Friday opening clash at ANZ Stadium. Penrith will be looking to get back in the winners circle against surprise National Rugby League leaders Gold Coast at home on Easter Monday.