Chloe Schibeci reviews the Saturday evening clash between South Sydney and the Wests Tigers, where a stellar second half performance saw a win for South Sydney.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 44
Tries:Alex Johnston 3 (23, 47, 59), Siliva Havili (33), Campbell Graham (52), Cody Walker 2 (65, 71), Jaxson Paulo (77)
Goals: Kodi Nikorima 3 (25, 35, 49), Blake Taaffe 3 (66, 72, 79)
Wests Tigers 18
Tries: Asu Kepaoa (6), Ken Maumalo 2 (8, 38)
Goals: Luke Brooks 3 (7, 15, 40)
The Rabbitohs have been struggling more than usual this season and were definitely hoping for a good result against the Tigers to help them build momentum to make the most of the second half of the season. Meanwhile, the Tigers are coming off a big win against the Bulldogs last Friday night.
The Wests Tigers got off to a strong start, Asu Kepaoa scoring the first try of the night after just six minutes of play. Ken Maumalo followed suit, scoring the second try for the Tigers just two minutes later. After a missed conversion, the Tigers established themselves in the game, leading 10 points to nil after just ten minutes.
A penalty goal gave them a 12-point lead just a few minutes later, the Rabbitohs began to scramble to get themselves into the game.
South Sydney’s star winger Alex Johnston scored the first try for the Rabbitohs’ halfway through the opening half.
The contest began to heat up in the final ten minutes of the first half. The Rabbitohs scored to level the scores with just five minutes remaining, before the Tigers scored with just 60 seconds remaining to maintain their lead going into the break.
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Wests Tigers 18
The second half was completely dominated by the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who didn’t give the Tigers a chance to catch up at any point.
The first points of the second half came from Alex Johnston. This levelled the scores once again.
An unconverted try from Campbell Graham had the Rabbitohs in the lead for the first time all evening, the Tigers would now need to catch up and regain momentum they built in the first half.
From the moment they hit the lead, it was all about South Sydney, who continued to build confidence throughout the remainder of the game.
Alex Johnston scored a hat trick against the Tigers and in doing so made himself the all-time leading try scorer for the Rabbitohs, surpassing Nathan Merritt who previously held the title.
No matter the efforts of the Tigers, they no longer found themselves matching the level of energy South Sydney carried; not capitalising on opportunities, leaving gaps in their defence for the Rabbitohs to score more points and expand their lead.
The Rabbitohs were scoring points until the very last minute of the game, going on to win against the Wests Tigers 44 points to 18.
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 44 Wests Tigers 18
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS
3 pts – Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs), 2 pts – Damien Cook (Rabbitohs) 1 pt – Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs)
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