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Souths Salute Sattler with Golden Point Victory

A career-first field goal from halfback Lachlan Ilias has sealed an emotionally-charged 13-12 victory for the South Sydney Rabbitohs against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, as the Club celebrated the life and career of John Sattler. 

With both sides scoring two tries apiece, the result was unable to be decided in regulation time, before Ilias calmly slotted a field goal early in Golden Point to seal the Rabbitohs' second win of 2023. 

In an intense match at Accor Stadium in the Rabbitohs' first home game of 2023, the Red and Green's victory rounded off a day of wins for the Club, which saw all eight grades take home the two competition points. 

It was a fitting tribute to former Premiership-winning Captain John Sattler, who passed away earlier this week, with the effort and determination he epitomised on display throughout the contest. 

The Rabbitohs wore a commemorative jersey featuring the famous 'torn rabbit' which was made famous in Sattler's 1970 Grand Final performance, with the Sattler family joining the playing staff for a minute's silence prior to kick-off. 

At the 13th minute, the Accor Stadium crowd - led by The Burrow - appropriately brought in a minute-long applause in honour of Sattler, who wore the no.13 jersey in his decade-long career in the Cardinal and Myrtle. 

Meanwhile, second rower Ben Lovett made his first-grade debut from the interchange bench, becoming Rabbitoh #1189 after rising through the Club's Elite Pathways system, while fellow forward Jacob Host made his first appearance of 2023. 

Both teams exchanged pleasantries in a physical start to the match, and while Isaiah Tass split the defence close to the line, the Rabbitohs' first foray into enemy territory failed to yield points. 

Campbell Graham and Izaac Tu'itupou Thompson sent Reuben Garrick into touch following a break, and after the defence forced another error, Michael Chee-Kam found himself over the line, only for the ball to come free. 

But it wouldn't be too long before the Rabbitohs touched down, with Cody Walker channelling Sattler's determination after chasing down a grubber kick from Damien Cook, with the mercurial five-eighth's effort just inches from the dead ball line providing the first points of the match. 

The lead was short-lived, however, as a lost ball from the ensuing set saw the Sea Eagles score from a towering kick via Haumole Olakau'atu, with the conversion levelling the scores with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. 

A collective sigh of relief was breathed as Tom Trbojevic was denied a try, before Tass showed poise and determination of his own to force the ball out from Tolutau Koula as the Manly centre found himself over the line. 

Tensions spilt over as the sides came together in a heated exchange just before the break - but it was Manly taking the lead heading into the sheds after Daly Cherry-Evans swooped to intercept on a pass and score under the posts. 

While ball handling continued to trouble the Rabbitohs on resumption, it was Walker who stood up once again after a seesawing ten-minute period, splitting the defence before slamming the ball down to bridge the gap to two points. 

Souths defended their line stoutly with a textbook Cameron Murray tackle halting Karl Lawton at the line, before Lachlan Ilias pinned the Sea Eagles behind their line to swing momentum as the left side continued to threaten the defence. 

Ben Lovett made his first appearance in the Cardinal and Myrtle as the Rabbitohs bravely defended their line, with determined efforts seeing Ilias take down Kelma Tuilagi before Alex Johnston soared to catch a towering kick. 

An error in the Manly half opened an opportunity for South Sydney to strike, and a penalty in front of the sticks saw Latrell Mitchell tie the scores at 12-all with as many minutes left on the clock. 

As the sides continued to go tit-for-tat in a tense finish to the match, a field goal attempt by Mitchell was waved away with 45 seconds remaining, before a Damien Cook charge down on a Cherry-Evans kick sent the match into Golden Point. 

Defending the first set of extra time, an opportunity opened up for the Rabbitohs immediately from a Josh Aloiai error, and it was Ilias who iced the victory through his first career field goal. 

Match Snapshot 

Play of the Game 

Heading into Golden Point for the first time in 2023, the Rabbitohs needed a game-defining moment and it came from the boot of young halfback Lachlan Ilias.

Following Damien Cook's effort to deny Daly Cherry-Evans from sealing the result in the final minute of play, the Red and Green had the perfect opportunity to do so after Josh Aloiai lost possession from the kick-off. 

Latrell Mitchell set up for a field goal of his own, but after being forced to send the ball wide, it looked like the opportunity may have passed for the Rabbitohs during their first set. 

That was until the ball landed in the hands of Ilias on fifth tackle - with the young no.7 taking control to calmly boot the Steeden through the posts, marking his first career field goal and of course, the all-important victory. 

What's Next?

The South Sydney Rabbitohs are back at Accor Stadium next Friday night in what is expected to be a blockbuster match against the Melbourne Storm, with the Red and Green looking to claim consecutive victories against their Victorian-based opponents. 

Rabbitohs non-ticketed Members and supporters looking to head to Accor can purchase tickets to Round 5 here!


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