South Sydney have defeated the Brisbane Broncos tonight by 42-16 to take provisional first on the NRL ladder in Close the Gap Round.
Despite a slow start that saw the Broncos draw first blood, a composed South Sydney went on to score a convincing victory that included a hat-trick for Greg Inglis. The victory places the South Sydney side in equal-first position with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles on 32 competition points.
The night had extra special feeling for Rabbitohs forwards, Ben Lowe and Ben Te'o, who celebrated their 100th and 150th games respectively - Ben Lowe grabbing a rare conversion at the death to celebrate.
A Rabbitohs mistake on halfway led to the Broncos receiving a string of back-to-back sets on the red and green line. The mistake would prove costly following a penalty, when Justin Hodges took a Ben Hunt grubber into the in-goal to open the scoring for the night adjacent to the sticks. Corey Parker added the conversion to give the Broncos a six point lead.
Six minutes later though, a penalty against the Broncos yielded points for the Rabbitohs. With the red and greens attacking the Brisbane line on the last tackle, Issac Luke opted to run the short-side before linking up with Greg Inglis, who powered his way over the line to score. Adam Reynolds converted from near the touch-line to level the scores up at six apiece.
From the very next set, a Sam Burgess break almost resulted in a second four-pointer to Alex Johnston, who took an offload from the Rabbitohs lock and sprint towards the try-line, only to be brought down in cover by Lachlan Maranta.
With 14 minutes left in the first half, Adam Reynolds took the opportunity to be creative on the last tackle by chipping over the top on the 40 metre line for a flying Greg Inglis. Inglis proceeded to steamroll Josh Hoffman before throwing the ball back inside to Sam Burgess. But Inglis wasn’t done – backing up Sam Burgess to score a brilliant four-pointer. Adam Reynolds converted to make it 12-6.
Souths were far from done in the first half – backing up the incredible effort with a try to Chris McQueen thanks to a knock-down gone awry from Justin Hodges. Reynolds made no mistake from short-range to bring the score to 18-6.
Souths were at it again from the ensuing kick-off with Dylan Walker, who took off down the touch-line, before being brought down 20 metres short. But despite the missed opportunity, Lote Tuqiri would finish the set with a four-pointer before Reynolds again added the extras to all of a sudden make the score 24-6 going into the break.
On the resumption, it was the Broncos who would draw first points through Sam Thaiday, who ducked through from close range to bring the score to 24-12 with Corey Parker’s conversion.
The Rabbitohs muscled up in defence and managed to repel a number of waves of Bronco attack on their own line. Mercifully, Souths managed to march up-field and get a line drop-out courtesy of a Luke Keary grubber kick that was knocked-on in-goal by Maranta.
The mistake paid dividends for the Rabbitohs when Adam Reynolds opted to kick towards the goal-posts and finding a flying Greg Inglis who streaked through to claim his hat-trick. Reynolds kept up his perfect night with the boot to claim his fifth conversion of the night to make it 30-12.
With the clock winding down, Inglis seemed destined to make it four tries for the night after the Test representative took another kick from Reynolds, but unselfishly passed on to five-eighth Luke Keary, who touched down to make it 36-12.
The Broncos grabbed a late consolation try through Jack Reed, but another four-pointer to the Rabbitohs through Kirisome Auva'a and a rare Ben Lowe conversion in his 100th match, added salt to th Broncos wounds - the Rabbitohs coming away with the points and their 14th win of the season – downing the Brisbane side 42-16.
Rabbitohs 42 (Greg Inglis 3, Chris McQueen, Lote Tuqiri, Luke Keary, Kirisome Auva'a tries; Adam Reynolds 6, Ben Lowe 1, goals)
Broncos 16 (Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Jack Reed, tries; Corey Parker 2 goals)