The South Sydney Rabbitohs have fought out an impressive 20-20 draw in the Return to Redfern Clash against the Northern Pride after trailing 20-8 late in the match.
A controlled start by both teams saw a conservative style of football played early, save for Rabbitohs new recruit Glenn Stewart, whose evasive running and willingness to take chances – particularly with the boot – saw the Rabbitohs look promising early, as well as the barnstorming running of Thomas Burgess.
But it was the Northern Pride who would score first thanks to a try to winger Semi Taduala in the far corner to give them a four-nil lead with four minutes left in the first quarter.
With the Rabbitohs pressing the line, the Pride’s Sam Obst intercepted a pass before racing 80 metres only to be taken down by John Sutton. But the Rabbitohs skipper found himself sin-binned for a professional foul, leaving his team a man down going into quarter time.
The Rabbitohs survived the sin-binning period and Setefano Taukafa got his side back in the match when the speedster crashed over in the corner as the rain began to come down. Jordie Hedges’ conversion attempt was waved away, leaving the score locked up at four apiece.
Semi Taduala grabbed his second of the afternoon in similar fashion to his first by going over down the flank to re-take the lead for the Pride by 8-4 at half-time.
The second half started on a good note for the Rabbitohs, with a penalty on the very first tackle and after a bit of an arm-wrestle, it was Sam Manuleleua who would lock the scores up for the Rabbitohs with his four-pointer just inside the touch-line to make it eight apiece.
A booming 40-20 kick allowed the Rabbits an opportunity close to the line. But despite some serious pressure being put on the visitors, the Pride released the pressure valve with their third intercept of the match. The intercept would eventually pay off
The Pride got back inside the Rabbitohs’ half and capitalised on the error when Brett Anderson powered his way through to break the dead-lock before Jordon Biondi Odo added the extras to make it 14-8.
It was all about the wingers again not long after, when giant Pride winger Luke George made the best of a short-side play to score and extend his side’s lead.
But while some thought the match was slipping away. the Rabbitohs weren’t quite done, with Eden Syme powering over for a try five minutes from full=time right next to the posts. Jordie Hedges added the extras to make the difference six points at 20-14.
Hedges then took charge, with the halfback dancing through the defence to grab a crucial try to inside the last couple of minutes – his conversion locking the scores up at 20 apiece to wrap up the game.
Rabbitohs 20 (Setefano Taukafa , Sam Manuleleua, Eden Syme, Jordie Hedges, tries; Jordie Hedges 2 goals)
Pride 20 (Semi Taduala 2, Brett Anderson, Luke George, tries; Jordon Biondi Odo 1, Jarred Verney 1 goals)