The Rabbitohs extend their winning streak to seven games.
Sydney rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Wests Tigers faced each other for the first time this season as the Rabbitohs looked to extend their six-game winning streak. It doubled as an Origin audition for several players.
The Rabbitohs got off to a great start with a penalty in the eighth minute and dominated the opening 20 minutes as they raced away to a 14 point lead after tries to New South Wales hopefuls Cameron Murray (13th minute) and Adam Reynolds (15th minute). The Tigers responded immediately through Corey Thompson who was on the receiving end of a great inside ball from Benji Marshall. New Zealand international Esan Marsters brought the deficit to two points after converting his own try in the 29th minute. In what now was a tough battle, the Tigers folded first as NSW hooker Damien Cook scored in the 35th minute. An injury to potential NSW halfback Adam Reynolds rounded out the first half as the Rabbitohs lead 20-12 at the break.
Both sides exchanged tries in the opening ten minutes: Rabbitohs forward Liam Knight in the 45th minute and Tigers veteran Marshall in the 48th, however Marsters couldn’t convert the try which left the score at 26-16. The next 15 minutes flowed as the two sides went set-for-set, but both sides missed opportunities to capitalise. Murray scored his second in the 66th which can be described as nothing but a bizarre try, extending the Rabbitohs’ lead to 16 points. Robert Jennings missed an opportunity to score for the Tigers late in the game as Mawene Hiroti punched the ball out from his grasp which was the last real opportunity. Souths’ 16-point win takes them to 10-1 and keeps them at the top of the table and the Tigers drop to 5-6. The result of the Cronulla game (against St. George-Illawarra) will determine whether the Tigers stay in the top eight.
Luke Brooks in a Blues jumper?
As we wait to see the severity of Adam Reynolds’ injury, injuries to Mitchell Pearce and Luke Keary has potentially left the door open for Brooks to start at 7 for NSW. Brooks put in another great performance as he ran for 142 metres, made 24 tackles and forced two dropouts as he continues to improve under the eyes of Marshall and Farah.
Damien Cook key to Rabbitohs’ title chances
With Cook on Origin duty, we’ll see over the next few weeks how well the Rabbitohs will perform without their star hooker. Cook – arguably the form 9 of the competition – ran for 92 metres and contributed two try assists, made 49 tackles and scored a try as he continues to be the key to how this Rabbitohs attack runs.
The Tigers gave away 10 penalties as the Rabbitohs shot out to a 14-point lead after 20 minutes. The Rabbitohs only gave away four penalties which allowed them to keep the Tigers at arms length.
Cameron Murray Origin debut
Cameron Murray should almost certainly be named in the Blues side after this weekend of football. The lock forward scored two tries tonight, ran for 145 metres and made 43 tackles in another strong performance. Expect him to play a bench role for Freddie’s side.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 32
Tries: Cameron Murray (2), Adam Reynolds, Damien Cook, Liam Knight
Goals: Adam Reynolds 3/3, Dane Gagai 3/3
Drop Goals: N/A
Wests Tigers 16
Tries: Corey Thompson, Esan Marsters, Benji Marshall
Goals: Esan Marsters 2/3
Drop Goals: N/A
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Corey Allan 2. Mawene Hiroti 3. Ethan Lowe 4. Dane Gagai 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 14. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Sam Burgess 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 8. George Burgess 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Dean Britt 17. Liam Knight
Wests Tigers: 5. Corey Thompson 2. Robert Jennings 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 18. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Chris McQueen 13. Matthew Eisenhuth. Interchange: 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Josh Aloiai 17. Michael Chee-Kam