South Sydney had a scare against Parramatta, coming back from 14 points down to win 26-20 on Saturday evening.
The last-placed Eels took on a Rabbitohs side looking to bounce back after a shock loss to the Tigers last round, while the Eels were coming off a rare win. Dane Gagai went over early for the Rabbitohs and it looked like this game would go to script.
The game turned when Hymel Hunt was sin-binned in the 26th minute for repeated infringements. The Eels crossed over twice during the 10 minutes Hunt was in the bin: Clint Gutherson crossing over off a cross field kick in the 27th minute, and – four minutes later – Jarryd Hayne wound back the clock, coming in off his wing for a great try, giving the Eels the lead. Michael Jennings then crossed over just before the halftime break, giving the Eels an 18-6 lead.
Mitchell Moses slotted a penalty to extend the Eels’ lead in the 54th minute, then possession swung towards the Rabbitohs off back-to-back penalties, allowing Campbell Graham to cross over minutes later, followed by Robert Jennings in the corner (in the 60th minute), closing the gap to four points.
It was Corey Norman’s turn to be sin-binned for repeated infringements, which the Rabbitohs capitalised on via Gagai crossing over in the 66th minute for his second. Reynolds converted to put the Rabbitohs into the lead.
Graham capped off a brilliant Rabbitohs comeback with his second try two minutes before full-time.
Parramatta’s Horror Season Takes Another Hit
After Parramatta’s best half this season, possession and momentum swung back to the Rabbitohs in the second half. Back-to-back penalties and bad defensive reads gave the Rabbitohs a sniff, then crucial mistakes ended Parramatta’s chances: a Bevan French dropped bomb then missed tackle, Moses kicking out on the full, then Norman’s sin bin, invited the Rabbitohs back into the game.
A Scare for Souths
Adam Reynolds’ kicking game was not on target in the first half, and credit must go to Parramatta’s rushing defence, especially after losing Kaysa Pritchard with a shoulder injury after six minutes. Once possession swung back towards Souths, the big guys were always going to be hard to stop.
Top Four Finish on Target
Souths’ finals drive is back on track, and a top four finish is still the target. The chance to finish minor premiers is a possibility, with their clash against the ladder leaders Melbourne next week possibly deciding the minor premiership.
The Dreaded Wooden Spoon
The Eels (four wins and 10 points) remain anchored to the bottom of the table. The Bulldogs and the Cowboys move to five wins and 12 points after wins this weekend.
South Sydney 26
Tries: Dane Gagai 2, Campbell Graham 2, Robert Jennings
Goals: Adam Reynolds 3/5
Tries: Clint Gutherson, Jarryd Hayne, Michael Jennings
Goals: Mitchell Moses 4/4
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Hymel Hunt, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess
Interchange: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark,17 Tevita Tatola
1 Clinton Gutherson, 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 Jarryd Hayne, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 10 Siosaia Vave, 11 Marata Niukore, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange: 14 Reed Mahoney, 15 Tim Mannah, 16 David Gower, 17 Peni Terepo