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2021 NRL Round Three, Rabbitohs 26 Roosters 16 – Report

Jack Harbidge reviews the round three derby at Stadium Australia between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters….. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Rabbitohs 26

Tries: Cody Walker (7, 43), Dane Gagai (15), Josh Mansour (37)

Goals: Adam Reynolds (8, 16, 29, 45), Latrell Mitchell (76)

Roosters 16

Tries: James Tedesco (47), Brett Morris (72), Josh Morris (80)

Goals: Siosiua Taukeiaho (48), James Tedesco (80)

Sin Bins: Daniel Suluka-Fifita (34)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
2 pts – Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
1 pt – Jai Arrow (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Following two runaway victories against Wests and Manly, the Roosters appeared to sleepwalk into a big derby game against the Rabbitohs and were punished for it early on. Cody Walker combined with Latrell Mitchell to open the scoring off an exceptional Mitchell draw and pass just seven minutes in, following numerous errors from the visiting side. With Adam Reynolds converting, the Rabbitohs led 6-0 in the blink of an eye.

The Roosters continued to throw away the ball and a Luke Keary error was duly punished by Dane Gagai, who went over in the left-hand corner from the ensuing possession. Leading 12-0, the Rabbitohs continued to control the game with exceptional defence and punishing possession following Roosters errors. The ill-disciplined Tricolours were made to pay further by an Adam Reynolds penalty goal with just over 10 minutes of the half to go.

Shortly following the penalty, and with the Roosters already under the cosh, interchange forward Daniel Suluka-Fifita decided to take matters into his own hands and punched Jai Arrow in the back of the head with one of his first involvements in the game. Referee Ashley Klein issued the appropriate punishment with 10 minutes in the sin bin, with Arrow waving the irresponsible Suluka-Fifita off the pitch in fine style.

The Roosters continued to infringe from the subsequent penalty and eventually conceded a Josh Mansour try when outnumbered on their left edge, putting the Rabbitohs 18-0 up going into the sheds at half-time.

HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 Sydney Roosters 0

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2nd Half

The Rabbitohs continued the second half in much the same vein as they had ended the first, with Walker and Gagai combining for Walker’s second try of the game against the 12-man Roosters. The try put the Rabbitohs four scores clear for all of two minutes before James Tedesco answered with a 50 metre effort to get the Roosters on the scoreboard for the evening.

Despite being buoyed by the try, the Roosters couldn’t control the ball under the exceptional pressure of Souths’ middle defence. With such a commanding lead, the Rabbitohs seemingly took their foot off the pedal: while they didn’t extend their lead, things went from bad to worse for their opponents. Partway through the half, Lindsay Collins was stretchered off and taken to hospital for a head injury and Lachlan Lam soon followed him off the pitch with an injury of his own. The most worrying blow came in the closing stages when Keary appeared to go down with a suspected ACL injury.

Regardless, the Roosters continued to battle back and the Morris brothers each grabbed a consolation try – either side of a Mitchell penalty goal – to make the scoreline a little less ugly in a night to forget for the Roosters, and an exhibition to remember for the Rabbitohs.

FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 Sydney Roosters 16

Injuries

Luke Keary (Roosters) – ACL
Lindsay Collins (Roosters) – concussion
Lachlan Lam (Roosters) – MCL

Match Review Committee

Daniel Suluka-Fifita (Roosters) – Grade 1 Striking – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban.
Freddy Lussick (Roosters) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Other – Early Guilty Plea $1150 fine.

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