South Sydney flex their premiership muscles with a 51-10 win over Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium. The victory ends their three match losing streak and has them firing before the finals.
The Tigers got off to a great start against the third placed Souths. A perfectly weighted Marshall kick was chased down by Chris Lawrence, who planted the ball down first. Both teams were impressive in defence to begin, coming up with some massive tackles. The attack was end to end in a match that was being played with finals type intensity. A few errors crept into the home side’s game but they held on and were next to score. They ran their go to play down the left side, which ended with Robert Jennings crossing in the corner. A sideline conversion from Adam Reynolds locked the scores up at 6-6. Damien Cook won his side a penalty by catching the markers off side and they elected to take the two. But their lead didn’t last. With the Tigers deep in attack, Benji dummied one way, stepped back the other, and kicked through for David Nofoaluma to cross out wide. The lead swapped again soon after. Souths started building momentum up the middle and after some impressive runs from the Burgess brothers, space opened up for Damien Cook down the middle. Cook passed it off to a hard running Crichton, who was never going to be stopped that close to the line. They continued their assault down the middle, running hard in numbers, and looking likely to slice through off every play. This lead to a penalty goal and try right on half-time to Cody Walker. The try coming from a Greg Inglis bust, who split a retreating Tigers defence. This sent Souths to the break with a 22-10 lead.
They started the half quicker than the Tigers and almost scored through George Burgess. The big front rower was pulled back after a blatant double movement. But they continued to roll through the middle of the Tigers defence and their quick play the balls opened space out wide. This led to a try through Campbell Graham after a quick play the ball from Damien Cook. Campbell Graham almost had a second try later in the half. Souths raided the left on the last tackle, kept the ball alive and a desperate kick back to the right from Walker found open space. Graham got there first but he planted the ball on the dead ball line. They couldn’t be stopped shortly after when Adam Reynolds sliced through some tired Tigers defence. Linking with Jason Clark, Adam Reynolds wrapped around and crossed the line untouched. And they were in again when John Sutton stepped back up the middle of the ruck, bounced off some tackles, and found Alex Johnston back on the inside. John Sutton provided once again for their next try, giving a short ball to a rampaging Tom Burgess, who crashed over close to the line. Sutton was involved in their next try, only this time it was his turn to score. Cody Walker sent him through a yawning gap, 20 metres out from their line. Jason Clark took the kick for goal, in his final home and away match for the Bunnies, and to add further salt to the wounds they added an Adam Reynolds field goal in the dying stages of the contest. The Tigers ending their season on a dismal note, while Souths enter the finals in fine form after their 51-10 victory.
Souths 2018 campaign has been built upon the work they get through out of their forwards. And that’s exactly how they won this game tonight. Their side ran for over 1000 metres more than the Tigers and nearly all their players cracked the 100 metre mark. With stats like that it’s no surprise that the Tigers weren’t able to hold on.
With a dominant forward pack it’s no surprise that the Bunnies spine was on fire, but perhaps there is no spine in the game connecting better at the moment. Cody Walker was back to his best. Adam Reynolds controlled the game. And Damien Cook came close to splitting the Tigers up several times.
Sam Burgess has had another massive season and been influential in their dominance up the middle. He left the field part way through the second half clutching a hamstring. Initial word was that there was nothing serious but they certainly won’t want to lose him heading into the finals.
Both Benji Marshall and Robbie Farrah announced that they will be continuing on in 2019 for the Tigers. And Benji Marshall was in fine form early on helping set up their two tries with some lovely kicks. They found it difficult running in the second half, especially playing behind a well beaten forward pack, but they have something to build on for 2019.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 51
Tries: Robert Jennings, Angus Crichton, Cody Walker, Campbell Graham, Adam Reynolds, Alex Johnston, Tom Burgess, John Sutton
Goals: Adam Reynolds 8/8, Jason Clark 1/1
Field Goal: Adam Reynolds
Wests Tigers 10
Tries: Chris Lawrence, David Nofoaluma
Goals: Esan Marsters 1/2
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Greg Inglis, 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 Hymel Hunt, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Dean Britt
Wests Tigers: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Mahe Fonua, 5 Kevin Naiqama, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 17 Josh Aloiai, 9 Robbie Farah, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Michael Chee-Kam, 13 Elijah Taylor Interchange: 8 Matt Eisenhuth 14 Alex Twal, 15 Sauaso Sue, 18 Jacob Liddle