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2021 NRL Round 14, Rabbitohs 24 Knights 10 – Report

Matt Pritchard reviews South Sydney’s win over the Newcastle Knights at Stadium Australia. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Rabbitohs 24

Tries: Alex Johnston (2, 31, 46), Jaydn Su’A (59)

Goals: Adam Reynolds (4, 32, 48, 60)

Knights 10

Tries: Dominic Young (22), Kurt Mann (36)

Goals: Jake Clifford (37)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
2 pts – Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
1 pt – Adam Reynolds (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

It was a slippery surface that greeted the players at Stadium Australia in the second game of Super Saturday. South Sydney were looking to stay inside the top four and the Knights were hoping for a better performance than what they dished out against Parramatta last Sunday.

Immediately the Knights were on the back foot after Tex Hoy couldn’t gather in Adam Reynolds’ opening kick. South Sydney went to their favoured left hand side, finding an overlap which allowed Alex Johnson to cross for the first of his tries for the evening. Reynolds converted to make it a six-point lead.

Newcastle stayed in the contest and it could be argued they had the better of play inside the first quarter of the game. Bradman Best’s flat short pass to Dominic Young presented the young English centre with his first try in the National Rugby League. New recruit Jake Clifford couldn’t convert and the Rabbitohs held a two-point lead.

Souths hit back on the half-hour mark through Johnston again. In the lead-up Jacob Saifiti was placed on report for a dangerous tackle. Cody Walker’s cut-out pass caught out the Knights defence and provided Johnston with his second for the evening.

An error from Latrell Mitchell at the back gifted the Knights an opportunity to close the gap, something they soon took advantage of. An excellent kick over the defensive line from Jake Clifford was tapped back by Johnston, going through Mitchell which allowed Kurt Mann to pounce. Clifford converted and the Knights trailed by two at the break.

HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Newcastle Knights 10

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2nd Half

It was a tough start for the Knights in the second half with Best succumbing to an ankle injury from the first half after just three minutes.

South Sydney had the bulk of the ball in the opening period thanks to a multitude of penalties and set restarts. This allowed Johnston to complete his hat-trick with Walker once again orchestrating the play down the right. Reynolds converted to take the lead to 18-10.

It wasn’t until the hour mark when the Rabbitohs kicked away. Intuition from Jaydn Su’A to kick past Hoy after an initial kick from Reynolds gave the Bunnies their fourth try of the evening. It looked like the floodgates were about to open as Newcastle tired both in defence and struggled to make ground in attack.

Newcastle battled hard but were unable to claw back the Rabbitohs’ lead. Despite going down Adam O’Brien would feel happier with his side’s performance after last week’s home thrashing against Parramatta. They may sit just two points out of the eight but their season could be on the line in the next fortnight before the bye when they play the Warriors and Cowboys in back-to-back home games.

South Sydney will be better for the run with Damien Cook and Cameron Murray not backing up after Origin. They face the Broncos at Suncorp next Thursday before a trip to Leichhardt in Round 16 to take on the Tigers.

FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 Newcastle Knights 10

Injuries

Bradman Best – ankle

Match Review Committee

Mitch Barnett (Knights) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $1,350 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,800 fine.

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