Brad Inger reviews the Magic Round clash between the Warriors and the Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium; here’s how the match went.
New Zealand Warriors 30
Tries: Marcelo Montoya 2 (39, 78), Adam Pompey (63), Jazz Tevaga (68), Daejarn Asi (74)
Goals: Reece Walsh 5 (40, 64, 69, 75, 79)
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Tries: Taane Milne 2 (6, 13), Alex Johnston (16), Blake Taaffe (23), Damien Cook (30), Lachlan Ilias (49)
Goals: Blake Taaffe 4 (17, 24, 32, 50)
Sin Bin: Damien Cook 73
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Warriors and Rabbitohs got day two of Magic Round underway with conditions less than ideal.
The New Zealand side got the ball rolling, earning several repeat sets by kicking into the in-goal early but were unable to convert them into points.
Souths looked threatening when they got the ball in their hands and strolled up the field before scoring the afternoon’s first try after a cut-out pass saw Taane Milne go over in the corner.
The Warriors had a few chances to get back into the contest but were undone by handling errors, and they were punished for it when Souths cruised up the field again before throwing another big pass for Milne’s second try of the day.
An injury to Jazz Tevaga saw the early entry of new Warrior Freddy Lussick, who only joined the club at the start of the week.
The New Zealand side continued their lacklustre defence as the Rabbitohs had no resistance as they added to their score tally, this time by throwing the ball out to the left for Alex Johnston, who crossed untouched.
An error from Jack Murchie put the Warriors on the back foot again, and moments later, Souths were over again when Blake Taaffe cut the defensive line up the middle for the fourth try of the afternoon.
The Warriors managed to finish a set, but they struggled to make any metres, and Souths were right back in the Warrior’s red zone, but the New Zealand side was able to stop them from scoring, forcing an error which was scooped up by Daejarn Asi who ran for 40 metres before passing to Adam Pompey who was dragged down, Johnson decided to kick early in the tackle count, but Dallin Watane-Zeleaniak was unable to outrun Johnston who did well to get himself out of the in-goal.
Souths then surged up the field, making a mockery of the Warrior’s defence before Damien Cook crashed over for his side’s fifth try of the day.
The game settled down for a spell with the sides trading sets in the middle of the pitch; the Warriors made several poor last tackle options and never looked like scoring.
Souths looked to have scored again when Lachlan Ilias dived over the line, but the Bunker deemed that he lost control, letting the Warriors off the hook.
With the first half winding to a close, the Warriors finally arrived at Suncorp, sending the ball to the left edge for Marcelo Montoya to score their first try in the 39th minute, seeing the Rabbitohs go into the sheds with a massive 26-6 lead.
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 New Zealand Warriors 6Embed from Getty Images
The Warrior’s defence looked better as the second half started with Johnson forcing an error out of Cody Walker.
The New Zealand side made some string runs before Reece Walsh sniped out of the ruck catching some defenders napping.
The Warriors got close to the try-line on a few attempts before kicking to the corner for Watene-Zelaniak, who could not keep hold of the ball over the line.
Souths continued to look strong with the ball in hand but let themselves down with some silly errors. The returning Tohu Harris out Bunty Afoa into a massive hole, and the front rower charged up the field; off that run, the Warriors looked to have scored when Eliesa Katoa barged over the line, but he lost the ball over the line, so the scores remained the same.
Souths managed to hold onto the ball for an entire set and were back into their tryscoring ways when Walker flung a cut-out pass to Johnston, who passed back inside to Ilias, who, after a wrestle with Tevaga in the in-goal, managed to get the ball down for the first try of the second half.
The sides traded sets again for a spell before the Warriors managed a repeat set from a Johnson grubber, but they struggled with cohesion, and a wayward pass found grass before being picked up by Campbell Graham, who sent Johnston scorching down the park, evading Warriors defenders with ease.
The New Zealand side survived the set and got their fans out of their seats when a Matt Lodge offload found its way to Johnson in open space; he zigged and zagged before being dragged down; the ball was fired to Walsh, who put a kick to the corner which was tapped back to Pompey for the Warriors second try of the day, the conversion also by Walsh was highlight worthy as he hit both posts.
On the next drive, Walsh was back in the hunt again, leaping for a bomb unsuccessfully before a Rabbitohs error handed the makeshift home side the ball again. Asi earnt the Warriors a repeat set when Taaffe could not control his grubber in the in-goal, and after a strong run from Aaron Pene, the Warriors were over again after Tevaga snuck over from dummy-half.
The Warriors kept momentum on their side and looked close to scoring again when Johnson pushed a grubber through but could not ground it; the bunker deemed that Cook had impeded Walsh’s path to the ball, and he was sent to the bin; the Warriors wasted little in taking advantage, with Asi running against the flow of play and scoring under the posts.
Rabbitohs fans breathed a sigh of relief when Walsh lost possession on the next set, but it didn’t last long as Souths coughed the ball up a few tackles later.
A penalty against the Rabbitohs handed the Warriors excellent field position, and they were over once again when Montoya crossed over in the corner.
With less than a minute on the clock, the New Zealand side needed a miracle, but it wasnt to be as Johnsons two point field goal was charged down before both sides traded knock-ons.
The New Zealand side challenged the call, and the bunker advised that the Rabbitohs were accidentally offside, but it wasn’t enough to give a penalty, so the Rabbitohs managed to hold for a tight victory.
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 New Zealand Warriors 30
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Reece Walsh (Warriors), 2 pts – Jai Arrow (Rabbitohs), 1 pt – Damien Cook (Rabbitohs)
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