2020 NRL Finals Week 1, Rabbitohs 46 Knights 20 – Report

Brendan Wood reviews the South Sydney Rabbitohs dominant 46-20 win over the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon. Here’s how the game went.


Minute Scoring Play Score
2nd Try – Hymel Hunt (Knights) Knights 6-0
7th Try – Bradman Best (Knights) Knights 12-0
12th Penalty Goal – Kalyn Ponga (Knights) Knights 14-0
16th Try – Corey Allan (Rabbitohs) Knights 14-4
20th Try – Cody Walker (Rabbitohs) Knights 14-10
24th Try – Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs) 14 All
36th Try – Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs) Rabbitohs 20-14
48th Penalty Goal – Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs) Rabbitohs 22-14
62nd Try – Tevita Tatola (Rabbitohs) Rabbitohs 28-14
69th Try – Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs) Rabbitohs 34-14
74th Try – Tevita Tatola (Rabbitohs) Rabbitohs 40-14
76th Try – Damien Cook (Rabbitohs) Rabbitohs 46-14
80th Try – Hymel Hunt (Knights) Rabbitohs 46-20


1st Half

There was action in the first minute when the Rabbitohs were awarded a penalty for a strip. The Knights challenged the call, and it was overturned by the bunker who ruled a loose carry instead. With their first attacking set, the Knights struck when Kalyn Ponga threw a rainbow pass to Hymel Hunt who scored in the corner.

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In the following set, Adam Reynolds made a rare error when he kicked out on the full. The resulting set saw the Knights make a linebreak when Mitchell Pearce put Lachlan Fitzgibbon into a gap. He handed the ball off to Bradman Best who streaked away to score in the corner.

The Rabbitohs continued to be their own worst enemy as Corey Allan made an error when returning a kick. They gave away a penalty in the next set and the Knights opted to take the two points, extending the lead to 14-0.

Eventually the Knights let the Rabbitohs off the hook when Enari Tuala made an error. As a result, they got their first points when Corey Allan broke through an attempted tackle from Tuala to score.

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Less than five minutes later, Kalyn Ponga made a meal of a Cody Walker bomb to gift the Rabbitohs field position. It was Walker who made the Knights pay as he crossed for a try of his own in the next set. After finding touch off a drop-out, the Rabbitohs levelled the scores when Alex Johnston finished off a backline spread.

The two sides went back and forth for the next ten minutes, until Damien Cook caught the Knights napping. He made a break from dummy-half and passed to Cameron Murray who scored under the posts. The Rabbitohs holding off a late chance to go into the break up 20-14.

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2nd Half

The second half started in controversial fashion when the Rabbitohs were awarded a penalty for markers not being square, despite making an error on the same play. They opted to take the two points to extend their lead to eight.

The next 15 minutes were an arm wrestle with the game sitting on a knife’s edge at 22-14. Both teams traded sets without error until Kalyn Ponga knocked-on close to his own line.

As a result, Tevita Tatola carried four Knights defenders to the line and reached out to score under the posts. That try shook the Knights confidence as they leaked another try to Alex Johnston in the left corner less than ten minutes later.

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From there, the flood gates opened as the demoralised Knights conceded another try when Tevita Tatola crashed over for his second. Damien Cook put the icing on the cake when he scored an 80-metre try to seal the victory.

A late consolation try to Hymel Hunt did little to improve the result, as the Rabbitohs knocked out the Knights 46-20 to confirm a matchup with the Parramatta Eels next week.

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The highlight of the game was the bounce back from the Rabbits in the first half, especially the performance from Cody Walker. After trailing the Knights 14-0 early, the Rabbits scored 20 points straight before halftime to flip the script on the Knights. Cody Walker had a hand in the first try to Corey Allan and sliced through the Knights defence five minutes later to score untouched.

With Adam Reynolds having a below average performance in the first half, Walker stepped up to lead the Rabbits back into the game with not only his running game, but his crisp kicking and passing game. He was a big reason why the Rabbits ended up scoring 46 points and blowing the Knights away in the second half.

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Rabbitohs: 1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 15. Liam Knight 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray Bench: 14. Mark Nicholls 11. Jaydn Su’A 16. Jed Cartwright 17. Keaon Koloamatangi.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 9. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 14. Chris Randall 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Mitchell Barnett 16. Herman Ese’ese Bench: 15. Jacob Saifiti 12. Aidan Guerra 17. Sione Mata’utia 20. Tex Hoy.


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