In all, five Rabbitohs lined up in varying colours during the course of the representative weekend, with all managing to play central roles for their rep side.
Friday night saw Greg Inglis line up in the green and gold of Australia against a new-look New Zealand outfit that gave the Kangaroos a sizeable shock. On Saturday, two Rabbitohs were in action, with Aaron Gray being called into NSW’s under 20s side to play Queensland, before Lote Tuqiri lined up for Fiji against Samoa in Saturday’s main event. The rep weekend wound up on Sunday when Adam Reynolds and Dylan Walker did battle for City against Country.
To watch highlights from all the matches, please click on the following links:
Here’s how your Rabbitohs fared.
Few could deny that Greg Inglis is at his devastating best when he plays at fullback. But with the ever-present talents of Billy Slater at Tim Sheens’ disposal, Inglis found himself in his original centre position against the Kiwis.
With 16 minutes remaining in a Test Match dominated by the Kiwis, it was Inglis who finally re-took the lead for Australia. The Kangaroos pressed the Kiwi line in consecutive sets, throwing the ball around with intent, but the black and white line held strong. Inglis came agonisingly close to scoring when he stretched out from a metre away, but New Zealand’s defence held true, until Inglis tried again in the same spot minutes later and came away with the points.
Although used to making closer to 200 metres a match from fullback, Inglis racked up 87 metres with the ball in hand in the centres, making one line break and eight tackles.
Aaron Gray hadn’t banked on wearing blue on Saturday, but that’s exactly where the young three-quarter found himself come game-day.
A late inclusion to New South Wales’ under 20’s Origin side at Penrith, Gray didn’t enjoy the type of preparation afforded to his teammates during the week, but his performance was nonetheless strong – highlighting his adaptability.
With Queensland attacking hard in the latter stages of the match, Gray’s stinging defence was just what the Blues needed – the young Rabbitoh bundling Queenslanders over the touch-line just shy of scoring on two separate occasions.
It was a night of surprises when it came to Lote Tuqiri on Saturday at Penrith. Most would have banked on the experienced dual-international lining up at fullback. Instead, Tuqiri lined up in the centres, contributing to his team’s effort by scoring a four-pointer before going down to Samoa in a physical encounter.
In some dim, distant past, Tuqiri was not so much known for, but acknowledged for having goal-kicking ability. He even lined up a handful ofshots during his Origin career for Queensland in the early 2000’s. Saturday saw Tuqiri reprise the role of goal-kicker by booting two goals in addition to his try.
Adam Reynolds lined up in a City number seven jersey for the second year running on Sunday and he didn’t disappoint. While those watching the early stages of the match resigned themselves to the fact that Country might be a little too good for the city-slickers and turned off, the final six minutes of the match were a sight to behold.
Reynolds, along with halves partner Josh Reynolds, played an integral role in levelling up the scores in the dying minutes of the game with deft passing and a pin-point kicking game. City Coach Brad Fillter attributed the final result to his ‘Reynolds’ halves-pairing speaking to Nrl.com.
"We were going backwards for a long time there and I thought our halves kept us in the game, bit of running, nice kicking, good kick pressure,” said Fittler.
Reynolds landed three conversions during the course of the match for a personal tally of six points.
It may have been his first representative game in the top grade, but Rabbitohs centre Dylan Walker performed strongly during the drawn City-Country match.
Walker topped both teams in terms of metres gained, with the Souths Junior racking up 178 metres with the ball in hand, while also proving a handful in attack. Despite being matched up against Jamal Idris, Walker only missed the one tackle on his noticeably bigger opposite to round out an impressive representative debut.