No one was expecting Saturday nights result – especially not the Rabbitohs. The Warriors surprised everyone in round one by finally breaking their five game drought against the Rabbitohs and their nine-year losing streak in Perth.
The Rabbitohs were definitely the safe bet for round one. Even the most faithful of Warriors fans would not have expected the well executed performance they delivered at Perth Stadium on Saturday night. The Warriors looked strong in their defence – especially the spectacular try saving tackle we saw from Tuivasa-Sheck, but the Bunnies were the first to put points on the board as Cody Walker scored a try in the 9th minute of the first half while the Warriors continued to hand over multiple penalties.
When the Warriors finally got their hands on the ball they did amazing things with it and managed to score two tries in the space of a few minutes. The second half was when the Warriors truly surprised the Perth crowd. Instead of beginning the second half with a significant lead and allowing the opposition to catch up as they have done in previous seasons, the team put the nail in the coffin with three more tries and sent a message to the rest of the competition that they are not a team to be taken lightly this season.
Penalty nightmares for Warriors
Even though the Warriors looked to be a new and improved side on Saturday night, one thing remained the same; countless penalties. The team racked up eleven penalties throughout the 80 minutes which impacted the game significantly in the opening quarter as the Rabbitohs had all of the possession. With 20 minutes to go, Solomone Kata was sin binned after one penalty too many which possibly could have been a huge game changer for the team. If it wasn’t for the continual penalties and thoughtless errors, it would have been a magnificent performance from the kiwi side.
Blake Green allows Shaun Johnson to shine
Before the season kicked off, there was a lot of excitement over the signing of Blake Green. The club signed the five-eighth in hopes he would be able to free up Johnson so he could make his magic instead of steering the team around. Green lived up to the expectations and allowed Johnson to get back to what he does best which is running rings around the opposition and creating numerous opportunities for tries.
Rabbitohs out of sorts
The Bunnies attack in round one was not the strongest we have seen from them. They had a 66% completion rate compared to the Warriors 80%, managed only 5 offloads and were unable to turn their 49% possession into points. The team also missed far too many tackles and made 14 errors. New coach Anthony Seibold will have a lot to work on before their round two clash against the Penrith Panthers.
Adam Reynolds reaches 1000
There were not many things for the Rabbitohs to celebrate after round one but Adam Reynolds reaching 1000 points was definitely an exciting moment for the club. After Cody Walker scored his second try of the game in the 77th minute, Adam Reynolds got the conversion which gained him the title of 1000 NRL points. Reynolds is just the third Rabbitohs player to pass the 1000 points mark.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
“We had a chance to tie it up – really disappointed. But we need to be able to handle that. A couple of things went against us like the try being disallowed and a couple of penalties. But unless we improve defensively, particularly that first contact, then we’re going to have some more challenging games.”
– Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold
“I don’t want you to get too carried away in the sense it’s only round one. We had a fair bit of possession. I’m not saying they’re not fit. They did a pretty good job to come home strong there. But my point is we’ve got a lot of improvement in us. The back-end of the second half there I think we can really tidy up.”
– Warriors coach Stephen Kearney
Tries: Isaiah Papali’i, David Fusitu’a (2), Sam Lisone, Ken Maumalo, Solomone Kata
Goals: Shaun Johnson (4)
Drop Goals: N/A
Tries: Cody Walker (2), Richard Kennar (2)
Goals: Adam Reynolds (2)
Drop Goals: N/A