The South Sydney Rabbitohs have hung on to beat the Cronulla Sharks by 28-26 at Cronulla this evening (Monday) in a see-sawing affair.
Both forward packs ripped in to each other with hurricane fury throughout the match, resulting in some massive breaks up the middle.
Just four minutes into the match, the Sharks were on the front foot, forcing the Rabbitohs in-goal before running a simple draw and pass play for winger Joshua Addo-Carr to score out wide.
The Rabbitohs hit back though through back-rower Ede Syme, who punched a hole through the Cronulla defence 20 metres out from the try-line before beating the fullback to cross right next to the posts. Irae Simone converted to give Souths the lead 6-4.
Souths continued to pressure the Cronulla line with waves of slick attack. But it was the nuggetty Aaron Booth who surprised the Sharks defence when the hooker went himself from dummy-half to plant the ball over the line. Simone sprayed the conversion attempt leaving the score in the Rabbitohs’ favour 10-4.
Just under half-way through the first stanza, the Rabbitohs began to pick up steam with the forwards making good yards up the middle. The red and greens skilfully drew in the Cronulla defence before halfback Wallace Tangiiti kicked for the wing of Tom Hughes, who caught the ball on the fly before scoring in the corner. Simone made no mistake with the conversion to make it 16-4.
Fa’amanu Brown hit back for Cronulla not long after by stepping inside the Rabbitohs defence from close range. Valentine Holmes converted to make the difference a converted try before Brown ran over for a second off the ensuing in near identical fashion. Holmes again added the extras to level the scores 16 apiece to round out the first half.
Five minutes into the second stanza, the Rabbitohs raced in through Irae Simone who hit the ball at speed from short-range to break the dead-lock. Simone converted his own try to make it 22-16.
Fa’amanu Brown was at it again in the 60th minute, steaming onto a short-ball before crossing the stripe adjacent to the posts. Holmes converted to lock it all up again at 22-all before another try shortly after to the Sharks extended their lead to 26-22.
The Rabbitohs weren’t done and dusted though, with five-eighth Brad Wall breaking through the Sharks’ defence before racing 25 metres to score next to the posts, levelling it up again at 26 apiece. Simone’s kick re-took the lead for the Rabbitohs at 28-26 to clinch victory.
Rabbitohs 28 (Eden Syme, Aaron Booth, Tom Hughes, Irae Simone, Brad Wall, tries; Irae Simone 4 goals)
Sharks 26 (Joshua Addo-Carr, Fa’amanu Brown 3, Patrice Siolo tries; Valentine Holmes 3 goals)