Lachy MacCorquodale reviews the blockbuster clash between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and league leaders the Penrith Panthers. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Josh Mansour (35), Cody Walker (61)
Goals: Adam Reynolds (37, 62)
Tries: Nathan Cleary (3, 57), Viliame Kikau (12), Kurt Capewell (14), Matt Burton (25, 31, 51), Briant To’o (70), Stephen Crichton (73).
Goals: Nathan Cleary (13, 16, 27, 32, 39 – pen, 49 – pen, 53, 58, 72, 74).
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)
2 pts – Matt Burton (Penrith Panthers)
1 pt – James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Penrith were unstoppable in the opening term. Five tries were scored in the opening 30 minutes by the league leaders and they kept finding ways to break through the Rabbitohs’ defence. Three of the five tries were score against the Rabbitohs’ right edge defence as Viliame Kikau, Matt Burton, and Brian To’o proved to be a handful for South Sydney’s defence. Nathan Cleary got his side of to the perfect start as he managed to find his way over as he out-wrestled Latrell Mitchell on the goal line in the third minute.
The Panthers continued their excellent start as Kikau and Kurt Capewell scored in the 12th and 14th minutes respectively. The hometown hero, Matt Burton, was the next to get in on the action, scoring the first of his three tries in the 25th minute after he burst past Josh Mansour on the left edge to score in the corner. Just minutes later, Burton was to score his second try of the afternoon in a poor display of defence and effort from the Rabbitohs, as Burton was allowed to catch a Cleary bomb and ground the football without being challenged in the air. This took the Panthers’ score to 28 points in just 31 minutes of football.
The Rabbitohs were next to score as Mansour found his way over in the corner after To’o failed to hold his wing, giving the Rabbitohs a glimpse of hope as they brought the deficit back to 22 points. Cleary would add two points to the lead after the Rabbitohs gave away a penalty on half-time.
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 Penrith Panthers 30Embed from Getty Images
It took a little longer than during the first half for the Panthers to start piling the points on, but when they did, they made it hurt the Rabbitohs. Cleary scored the first points of the second half during the 49th minute with a penalty goal and – over the course of the next 24 minutes – the Panthers would add four converted tries to the total as they complied 56 points for the match. Burton was the first try scorer of the half and in the process scored his first career hat-trick in his hometown.
Cleary would score his second in the 57th minute as he once again barged his way over from 10 metres out. In the 70th and 73rd minute To’o and Stephen Crichton got in on the action as they score their first four pointers for the afternoon. The Rabbitohs had another quiet half, scoring just the one try: Cody Walker crossing in the 61st minute with a brilliant piece of individual skill as he stepped on his inside to score near the posts.
This result was a massive wake up call for the Rabbitohs who had been labelled as premiership contenders and have now been beaten comfortably by both Penrith and Melbourne in three matches so far this year. South Sydney will have to bounce back as they face the third-placed Parramatta Eels, who are also coming off a loss, and the league leaders Penrith will face the last-placed Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Penrith Panthers 56
Josh Mansour (Rabbitohs) – failed HIA
Match Review Committee
Kurt Capewell (Panthers) – Grade 1 Crusher Tackle – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 1 match ban.