Andrew Pelechaty reviews the Saturday night Magic Round clash between Cronulla-Sutherland and South Sydney. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: William Kennedy (36), Aaron Woods (58), Briton Nikora (66), Mawene Hiroti (79).
Goals: Chad Townsend (37, 60, 79).
Tries: Keaon Koloamatangi (6), Adam Reynolds (18), Cody Walker (29, 73), Jai Arrow (76).
Goals: Adam Reynolds (7, 19, 30, 74, 77).
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Benji Marshall (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
2 pts – Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
1 pt – Adam Rey olds (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
While both these sides were looking to restore some pride after humbling round nine losses, it was Souths who had the better of the first half, with tries to Keaon Koloamatangi, Adam Reynolds, and Cody Walker, establishing a 20-0 lead. The tries to Koloamatangi and Reynolds were beautifully set up by the veteran Benji Marshall, with two magical passes.
It wasn’t all good news for Souths, with Jayden Su’a becoming the 10th player sin-binned in four games. How many more will we have by full-time on Sunday night?
While the Sharks couldn’t exploit their one-man advantage (with Walker scoring for Souths), they scored their first try in nearly 120 minutes when William Kennedy went over.
HALF-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 6 South Sydney Rabbitohs 20Embed from Getty Images
The Sharks tried to get back in the game in the second half, stringing some repeat sets together, but couldn’t break through.
By the same token, Souths couldn’t extend their comfortable lead as the game got a bit scrappy.
The Lang Park crowd managed to entertain themselves, starting a Mexican wave, something usually associated with quiet moments during a cricket Test or one-day game. After a dramatic Magic Round so far, this was an unexpected lull.
There were finally second half points when Aaron Woods scored with a flick pass from Andrew Fifita (who surely wins the premiership for worst NRL haircut in 2021). The Bunker took their time making a decision, but the try was eventually awarded. With 20 minutes left, it was game on with the Sharks only down by eight.
The Sharks closed the gap even further when Briton Nikora scored off a nice Matt Moylan pass with 14 minutes left. Chad Townsend missed the conversion, leaving the Sharks behind by four.
Townsend was put on report for a dangerous “pressure on neck” tackle inside the final 10 minutes, but he wasn’t sin-binned.
Souths benefitted from the ensuing penalty, with Walker scoring the potential game-sealer next to the posts.
Jai Arrow scored his first try in the Cardinal and Myrtle to blow the margin out to 32-16, an unfair reflection of Cronulla’s second half effort.
At least the Sharks finished on a good note, with a late try to Mawene Hiroti.
Despite the scare, Souths rebounded after their horror loss to Melbourne, while the Sharks lost their sixth straight game.
FULL-TIME: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22 South Sydney Rabbitohs 32
to be advised
Match Review Committee
Jaydn Su’A (Rabbitohs) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $1900 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $2550 fine
Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Head/Neck – Early Guilty Plea $1350 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1800 fine