TENTH TIME LUCKY FOR THE RABBITOHS
It has been 86 days since Round 11 and South Sydney’s last win, and it done in some style beating a Warriors side who had been in reasonable form and looking to stay in touch with the finals race.
The previous week’s effort in a golden point loss to the Storm was thankfully not a one off as the Rabbitohs continued a winning streak over the Warriors that is now out to five games and goes back to 2013.
Whilst one could ask where a performance like that has been all season, given some of the dross served up by South Sydney over the past few months, it comes as welcome to relief to fans who feared there may not be another win in 2016.
It did look like more of the same after the Warriors crossed early through Solomona Kata, but the response with five tries to nil thereafter was almost a season high. Three of those tries came off excellent grubbers from Adam Reynolds where the chasing player’s run was perfectly timed. It does go a little way to prove one point I’ve had from the 2016 season, that Adam Reynolds has wasted too much of his talent this year by too many towering bombs as the fifth tackle option.
Also promising amongst those five tries was the injection of Greg Inglis. He scored the fifth try of the first half and had a hand in the first of Roosters reject Joe Burgess ‘double. Those enthusiastic injections have been few and far between in South Sydney’s 2016 season, and one hopes for more of the same until the end of the season.
Will the win relieve the pressure on Michael Maguire? Possibly, but maybe not. This performance showed what Souths van do with their big names. They have always had exceptional talent, but it hasn’t been up to scratch for large parts of 2016. If this performance isn’t repeated in 2017 more often, a change needs to happen, starting at the top with the head coach.
ARE THE WARRIORS STILL FINALS MATERIAL?
As long as the Warriors can make the finals, they should always been included in calculations and also feared to a degree. They currently sit ninth and will remain there for Round 23 and are on the same points total as eighth placed Penrith who are yet to play.
If they finished up on the other end of some recent golden point losses, the Warriors would have been one of the competition’s form sides.
But the NZ based side more than most NRL sides are unpredictable, with performances varying from game to game, ground to ground, and sometimes half to half or even less.
In Shaun Johnson, the Warriors have one of the competition’s most dangerous game breakers, plus Solomone Kata, Simon Mannering in sparkling form. Not forgetting the dangerous and popular Manu Vatuvei amongst others. They are a dangerous side who will be disappointed with today’s loss, but still one to fear for other teams in the finals if they make it.
WHY WAIT FOR THE ONE POINT?
One thing in general in rugby league is why teams don’t take the one point much earlier in games.
Adam Reynolds did just that with a few minutes to go before half time, extended the Rabbitohs lead to 19 points at 24-6.
There can be a potential positive by product too, as Souths proved. You get the ball back from the kick-off which gives another chance of scoring of you have enough time.
With the finals looming and games set to be decided by finer margins that current, maybe some teams will take notice.
IS CODY WALKER ROOKIE OF THE YEAR?
Cody Walker has been one of South Sydney’s few positive things from the 2016 season. His first year in the NRL has been outstanding, and there were times this season where he looked like the only person able to turn things around, and at minimum the most enthusiastic player by far.
He certainly wouldn’t be fashionable choice. He’s not a young Under 20 potential superstar or boom rookie. He has had plenty of misses in a meandering career so far.
His journey takes him through the Gold Coast Titan’s NYC team, Penrith’s NSW Cup team, Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup, and was contracted to their NRL Feeder side Melbourne Storm.
He signed for Souths for the 2015 season, but it took a full year of North Sydney Bears for the now 26 year old to taste NRL. He has devoured it, and has looked comfortable from game one.
So much so that he was almost poached by Brisbane Broncos before deciding to stay with Souths. In fairness a move to Brisbane would have meant a bench role or more Queensland Cup given their 1, 6, and 7. He can stay and be a highly influential players at Souths.
The good story about Cody Walker is that it can still all happen for a rugby league players despite being in his mid 20’s. Far too many young players are lost to the game, some (more than one is far too many) in more tragic circumstances than others.
Cody Walker’s success means that players can still hope of cracking it later than hoped. It also means that club’s shouldn’t necessarily overlook the talent on offer in the second tier state based Intrust competitions.
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