Shannon Meyer reviews an easy win for the Rabbitohs over the struggling Broncos.
Tries: Benji Marshall (7), Alex Johnston (15), Adam Reynolds (37), Latrell Mitchell (51 ,75), Campbell Graham (61).
Goals: Adam Reynolds (12 – pen , 38 , 52 , 76).
Field Goals: Adam Reynolds (39 – 2 Points) Latrell Mitchell (79 – 1 Point).
Tries: Jamayne Isaako (20).
Goals: Jamayne Isaako (21).
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
2 pts – Benji Marshall (Rabbitohs)
2 pts – Latrell Mitchell (Rabbitohs)
2 pts – Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Thursday night football welcomed the Broncos for the first time for 2021, with Brisbane dealing with withdrawal symptoms of no Thursday football. Souths entered the game with the shortest odds in memory for this writer (who suffered way too many thrashings at the hands of the Broncos in Brisbane for decades). The pre-match news was revolving around Adam Reynolds’ contact situation and ironically tonight’s opponent is a likely potential destination.
Like they were all playing on the edge of a cliff, it was a hit-up festival up the middle in the first sets for both sides. The match’s first deviation from this was a penalty in the fifth minute which led to the first decent attacking set from either side and ended in a near miss for Alex Johnston from a cross-field kick.
It didn’t take long for that near-miss to spark Souths into life. The next attacking play saw Damian Cook scoot down the sideline deep into Broncos territory. The next play saw Reynolds kick on Johnston’s chest, pass out of the back of his hand to Gagai who kept the ball alive for the reborn Benji Marshall to open the scoring for the Rabbitohs, making the most of his first start for Souths – replacing the suspended Cody Walker. The conversion missed and Souths led 4-0 after seven minutes.Embed from Getty Images
Souths continued attacking the Broncos thereafter, looking quite dangerous with each set and the Broncos looking as shaky in defence as during Ryan Papenhuyzen’s happy hour last weekend in Melbourne. Souths did earn themselves a penalty in the 12th minute, extending the lead to 6-0, which was probably a relief for Brisbane.
It wasn’t long before Souths had added more pain for the Broncos as Cook found Marshall from dummy half who then found Latrell Mitchell – who delivered a perfect cut out pass to Johnston who scored with ease in the left corner. The only surprise thus far was Reynolds missing a second conversion as the score remained 10-0.Embed from Getty Images
Summing up the Broncos’ form and the individual Souths brilliance was Tom Dearden busting through the Rabbitohs’ defence and running 40 metres before approaching Mitchell, who dislodged the ball on the fly. But not much longer after, the halfback made up for it by pressuring Marshall into a mistake, which led to the Broncos’ first try of the evening by the end of the set when Jamayne Isaaako crossed after a decent movement to the left from the Broncos. The conversion made the score 10-6, which wasn’t an accurate depiction of the game to that point, but Brisbane have to take what they can get at the moment.Embed from Getty Images
That sparked Brisbane into life for a little burst, with the next offensive sets attacked with purpose, even forcing Souths into another mistake. But it didn’t last for Brisbane as the attacks didn’t amount to more points. Souths on the other hand were looking likely with most of their attacking sets.
And score Souths certainly did just before half time as the perfect Marshall cut-out pass found a rampaging Dane Gagai down the left; he busted through many would-be tacklers around the halfway line and eventually found a supporting Reynolds to score the Rabbitohs’ third try of the night. The easy conversion made it 16-6 with a minute to play.
That one minute still allowed the Souths halfback to seal a slice of history, as Reynolds nailed the first two-point field goal (since the new rule was introduced for this season), with a few seconds to spare, from near the halfway mark. The halftime lead was 18-6, with a little slice of history as well. And perhaps a reminder to player and club to work something out contract-wise.Embed from Getty Images
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 Brisbane Broncos 6
Brisbane needed to come out firing in the second half to give themselves any hope of a rare non-Bulldogs win, but the half started off pretty low-key and a touch scrappy; and with Wayne Bennett a fan of second half point shutouts, and the Broncos not in great attacking form, there was a chance that the second half would remain quiet.
A 50th minute penalty to the Rabbitohs led to the first points of the second half to South Sydney within the next set as Mitchell powered his way over the line courtesy of a fine cut out pass try assist from Reynolds. Mitchell had broken through the Broncos’ line and slipped over after slipping out of a Dearden tackle: he had no pressure on him on the ground so continued the extra few metres to reach out and score his first try of the night. The successful conversion made it 24-6 after 52 minutes.Embed from Getty Images
Souths extended their lead in the 61st minute as Marshall extended his try assist tally for the 2021 season as he headed right from a scrum 10 metres out from the Broncos’ line, and a perfect short pass found Campbell Graham running the right line with enough determination to break through and score. Reynolds’ mixed night with the boot saw him miss a third conversion for the night. This just about wrapped up the game for Souths, as Brisbane looked unlikely to score one try, let alone multiple tries, to win.Embed from Getty Images
The 66th minute saw Dean Hawkins join the game to make his NRL debut. He played in the halves as Marshall moved to hooker; Hawkins did a good job for his first game.
Mitchell scored his second try for the night with five minutes to go as he caught a perfectly weighted high kick from Reynolds and used his strength and ability to get the ball to ground despite some close attention from the Broncos defenders. Reynolds’ conversion extended Souths’ lead to 34-6.
Salt was added by Mitchell just before fulltime as he nailed a field goal (for just one point this time), just to rub in the Rabbitohs’ superiority.
It was a relatively easy night out for South Sydney as they took care of business against the struggling Broncos, with Reynolds giving something for his current bosses to think about. Wayne Bennett got his second half shut-out too, with the team in general looking finals-ready even at this stage of the season.
For the Broncos, Dearden was a bright light for them for a while. Perhaps they should start rotating Anthony Milford and give the Croft-Dearden partnership a go. Or wait for Reynolds….
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 35 Brisbane Broncos 6
Ben Te’o (Broncos) – Partial bicep tear.
Match Review Committee
Alex Glenn (Broncos) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Other – Early Plea $1700 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $2250.