Brendan Wood reviews the South Sydney Rabbitohs convincing win over the Parramatta Eels on Saturday night.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30
Tries: Alex Johnston (4, 40), Jai Arrow (18), Jaxson Paulo (60), Damien Cook (65)
Goals: Latrell Mitchell (5, 19, 40, 62, 66)
Parramatta Eels 12
Tries: Clint Gutherson (22, 72)
Goals: Mitch Moses (23, 73)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
After a day of heavy rainfall at Accor Stadium, it was the Rabbitohs who opened the scoring early. Cody Walker threw a cut-out pass to Alex Johnston, who dived and slid on the water logged grass into the in-goal for a try.
Following points, the Rabbitohs looked dangerous again as they rolled down the field with plenty of confidence. This time, Cody Walker misjudged a short kick and gave the Eels a seven tackle set as a result. After seeing little possession early, the Eels produced a solid set to win back some momentum.
However, their first attacking set fizzled out when Clint Gutherson failed to find his target with a short kick. With the Rabbitohs let off the hook, the made the Eels pay.
After a fifth tackle option broke down, Jaxson Paulo stabbed a kick back across field for Isaiah Tass, who showed plenty of skill to grab the ball and offload to Jai Arrow in one motion. Arrow couldn’t be stopped close to the line and the Rabbitohs lead was extended to 12.
In the next set, the Rabbitohs spread the ball left to Alex Johnston, who broke away down the sideline. Johnston chipped back in-field and Mitch Moses recovered, but not before he was driven back into the in-goal.
Following a close call where Jaxson Paulo was denied a try, the Eels finally found their feet. They got a penalty and in the following set, they had their first points. Dylan Brown hit Shaun Lane with a short ball, and Lane offloaded to Clint Gutherson who crossed for a try.
The slippery conditions got the better of both sides for the remainder of the half. However, on the stroke of halftime, Alex Johnston intercepted a pass from Mitch Moses and he sprinted away to complete a first half double.
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 Parramatta Eels 6Embed from Getty Images
With the rain easing off over the break, the Eels started poorly when Clint Gutherson kicked the ball dead in one of their first attacking opportunities. A tense 10 minutes followed, but the Rabbitohs held on to the momentum and won the better of the field position.
In a controversial moment, Isaiah Papali’i was penalised and put on report for pushing Lachlan Ilias as he was kicking. Despite the protests from the Eels, referee Ben Cummins ruled Ilias was put in a dangerous position.
It took the better part of 20 minutes for either side to draw first blood after the break, but eventually the Rabbitohs broke through. After several sets of building pressure, Jaxson Paulo was on the end of a quick pass from Campbell Graham as he crossed in the corner with an acrobatic try.
Just minutes later, the Rabbitohs broke through again. This time it was Latrell Mitchell devastating the Eels. He took off on a charging run, bumping off a few tackles and offloading to Lachlan Ilias. He passed to Damien Cook and Cook out-sprinted the Eels chasers to score a long range try, extending the lead to 24 points.
With the game all but gone for the Eels, they found a consolation try through Clint Gutherson, who grabbed a double when they spread the ball through the hands and beat the Rabbitohs for pace outside.
In the final minutes, the Eels had a further crack to save some pride, but ultimately the Rabbitohs proved too strong for the full 80 minutes to record an impressive win in poor conditions.
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 Parramatta Eels 12
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 2 pts – Alex Johnston (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 1 pt – Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
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