Jack Harbidge reviews the round 20 clash between rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium. Here’s how the game went.
|3rd||Try Josh Morris (Sydney Roosters)||Sydney Roosters 4-0|
|13th||Try Cody Walker (South Sydney)||Scores tied 4-4|
|14th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 6-4|
|17th||Try Alex Johnston (South Sydney)||South Sydney 10-4|
|19th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 12-4|
|29th||Try Alex Johnston (South Sydney)||South Sydney 16-4|
|30th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 18-4|
|31st||Try Campbell Graham (South Sydney)||South Sydney 22-4|
|33rd||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 24-4|
|38th||Penalty Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 26-4|
|49th||Try Corey Allen (South Sydney)||South Sydney 30-4|
|51st||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 32-4|
|56th||Try Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)||South Sydney 32-8|
|59th||Try Cody Walker (Sydney Roosters)||South Sydney 36-8|
|61st||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 38-8|
|69th||Try Cameron Murray (South Sydney)||South Sydney 42-8|
|72nd||Try Alex Johnston (South Sydney)||South Sydney 46-8|
|74th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 48-8|
|75th||Try Alex Johnston (South Sydney)||South Sydney 52-8|
|76th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 54-8|
|77th||Try Alex Johnston (South Sydney)||South Sydney 58-8|
|80th||Penalty Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 60-8|
While it was somewhat of a tetchy start to the first half from both teams, the game was certainly not lacking in quality. The pressure came from the Roosters early on and the Tricolours capitalised fairly quickly, with Josh Morris getting over just three minutes in.
The Rabbitohs looked as though they were under the cosh, but a disallowed try from Luke Keary seemed to spark the Bunnies into action. The next set, South Sydney shifted to the right for Cody Walker to slice through the Roosters‘ defensive line and score to put Souths level.
Following a successful conversion, the Rabbits continued to pressure and once again broke the line, this time down the left edge with Alex Johnston exchanging with Bailey Sironen around the fullback before scoring under the posts.
Souths seemed to have shocked the Roosters and continued to ride the wave of momentum, only to be stopped by the Bunker disallowing a try to Campbell Graham, barging over the Roosters right edge defence, leaving the score at 12-4 heading into the half time hooter.
That wasn’t to be the last try-scoring opportunity for Souths, however, and Alex Johnston went over down the Rabbitohs’ left edge after sustained pressure on the Roosters’ line. Souths capitalised in quick succession towards the back end of the half with Campbell Graham crossing off the back of an astute kick.
Souths continued to dish out the punishment to the out-of-sorts Roosters side, scoring just over 10 minutes into the second half after tearing strips through their opposition. The Rabbits continued to dominate, but the Roosters managed to answer with a try of their own and, following another dismal conversion attempt from Kyle Flanagan, Souths’ lead was cut to 24 points.
The Roosters, however, continued to leak points and conceded soon after with Walker exposing some soft left edge defence from the Roosters off the back of a kick. Despite the lead now extending to 30 points, Souths continued to pressure a seemingly listless Roosters team and capitalised through Cam Murray after Josh Morris duffed gathering a kick in the in-goal area.
Souths continued to punish the Roosters and finished the game off with an exceptional try to give Alex Johnston his hat-trick and put Souths up 48-8 with under 10 minutes to play. The scoring didn’t stop there, however, and Corey Allen broke through to score one of his own, only to pass the ball to Alex Johnston to level the top try-scorer competition (Ken Irvine Medal) with Kyle Feldt. Johnston then went one better off the back of a play down the Rabbitohs‘ left edge to take the lead as the top try scorer, before Adam Reynolds nailed a penalty at the death to take Souths’ tally to 60 points.
Despite playing against a lifeless Roosters side at the back end of the game, Alex Johnston’s hat-trick try was exceptional. Playing the ball just short of half way, Souths brokr through the middle with Cameron Murray bursting through after two offloads, only to offload to Cory Allen to execute a shape down the left edge for Alex Johnston to go over in the corner.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Liam Knight 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 18. Tevita Tatola 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 11. Jed Cartwright 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Hame Sele 17. Keaon Koloamatangi.
Sydney Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Mitchell Aubusson 18. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Angus Crichton. Interchange: 14. Lachlan Lam 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Nat Butcher 17. Sonny Bill Williams.