Lachy McCorquodale reviews the qualifying final between the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney…
Sydney Roosters 14
Tries: Angus Crichton (9), Daniel Tupou (12), Nat Butcher (54)
Goals: Sam Walker (55)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30
Tries: Alex Johnston 2 (5, 46), Latrell Mitchell (22), Jai Arrow (51), Isaiah Tass (71)
Goals: Latrell Mitchell 5 (6, 23, 47, 52, 73)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have booked a date with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks next week after defeating their fiercest rivals the Sydney Roosters by 16 points.
The match followed suit after three fantastic finals games so far this weekend in front of a packed Sydney Football Stadium. The crowd witnessed an incredible seven sin bins throughout the 80 minutes, with three of those coming in the first half. Victor Radley was the first to go early in the first term, allowing the Rabbitohs to open the scoring through none other than Alex Johnston. The Roosters were quick to reply with tries in quick succession to Angus Crichton and Daniel Tupou. Minutes later, Thomas Burgess and Taane Milne were both sent to the bin for high tackles, leaving Souths with just 11 players. Miraculously, Souths scored immediately – despite having two less players on the field – through Latrell Mitchell.
One of the Roosters’ casualties from the Burgess high tackle was James Tedesco who failed his HIA, handing Easts their first omission of the night. Despite missing Tedesco, the Roosters continued to march down the field (49 metres per set to Souths’ 40 during the first half) but were unable to convert it to points as the Rabbitohs maintained a four-point lead heading into the break. However, before the break, the Roosters were handed two further omissions with Angus Crichton being ruled out after failing his HIA and Daniel Tupou joining him after suffering a groin injury.
The Rabbitohs didn’t take long to get going in the second half with Johnston crossing for his second try of the night, becoming the first player in NRL history to score 30 tries or more in back-to-back seasons. He’s also the only player to have two separate 30+ try seasons. Shortly after, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves became the fourth player sent to the sin bin for slamming Burgess’ head into the ground, giving the Rabbitohs the advantage: they wasted no time scoring with the following courtesy of Jai Arrow. Nat Butcher grabbed one back quickly to bring the deficit to 10 points, however the Roosters couldn’t get their attack flowing and it became much more difficult once Radley was sent to the bin for the second time of the match, joined by Tevita Tatola for their scuffle.
Just when you thought there couldn’t be another sin bin, Milne joined Tatola and Radley on the sidelines for the second time of the match, but this didn’t deter the Rabbits, who were still able to score through Isaiah Tass despite having 11 on the field.
The Roosters were absolutely spent, having played the second half with one man on the bench, and couldn’t stop the Rabbitohs’ flow of points. The Sharkies will be waiting for them.
PLAYER OF THE FINALS POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Cody Walker (Rabbitohs), 2 pts – Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs), 1 pt – Latrell Mitchell (Rabbitohs)
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