The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NYC side have gone to the Brisbane Broncos ny 36-32 at Redfern Oval in a nail-biter.
With just under 10 minutes left, the Rabbitohs were in control of the match, but quick tries to the third placed Brisbane side put them back in the match to claim victory, despite a spirited final throw of the dice from Souths.
The Broncos were first to draw blood inside the first five minutes, when centre Tom Opacic crashed over to give the Broncos a 4-0 lead.
With 20 minutes in the first half gone, a Broncos line drop out put the Rabbitohs in perfect attacking position, and on the back of a brilliant pass, Tom Hughes raced the remaining 25 metres to touch down just inside the side-line. Devon Makoare-Boyce’s conversion attempt was waved away, leaving the scores locked at four apiece.
The Broncos hit back within four minutes though on the back of a penalty, with Joe Ofahengaue crashing over right next to the posts. Jayden Nikorima converted to make it 10-4.
Sam Manuleleua then grabbed a four-pointer of his own out wide to set up a pressure-kick for Makoare-Boyce from just inside touch. The fullback calmly slotted the conversion to level it up at 10 apiece.
Rabbitohs lock, Cheyne Whitelaw, seized an opportunity from close range when his side went on the attack again just a couple of sets later – the forward powering over three Broncos defenders to take the lead for his team. Makoare-Boyce converted to make it 16-10 with just over three minutes left.
With just over a minute left in the first half, Makoare-Boyce slotted a 30 metre penalty goal to take the teams to the sheds with Souths leading 18-10.
On the resumption, the Rabbitohs went straight back on the attack, marching themselves up-field before throwing the ball out to Jack Gosiewski, who charged over to make it 22-10. But the momentum continued off the very next set for Souths, when Tom Hughes grabbed his second of the afternoon. Makoare-Boyce added the extras to make it 28-10.
The Broncos hit back through second rower, Alex Barr, when the Rabbitohs failed wrap the big forward up over the try-line. Duncan Paia’aua converted to make it 28-16.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Jack Gosiewski came within a whisker of grabbing his second, but the pass was ruled forward. Instead, it was the Broncos who put points on the board through Jayden Berrell. Another Paia’aua conversion made it 28-22.
But Tom Hughes hadn’t had enough of scoring points – the winger swan-diving over in the corner to claim his hat-trick with 14 minutes in the match remaining to make it 32-22.
Kodi Nikorima narrowed the gap again for the Broncos with two tries to make it 32-30 with Paia’aua levelling the game up at 32 apiece with his conversion.
But with two minutes in the matches remaining, the Broncos’ Brendon McBryde snatched the lead yo make it 36-32.
With under a minute left, a short-re-start and a penalty got the Rabbitohs back on the attack in good field position. But despite some determined attack, the Broncos held on the take the match 36-32.
Broncos 36 (Tom Opacic, Joe Ofahengaue, Alex Barr, Jayden Berrell, Kodi Nikorima 2, Brendon McBryde, tries; Jayden Nikorima 1, Duncan Paia’aua 3 goals)
Rabbitohs 32 (Tom Hughes 3, Sam Manuleleua, Cheyne Whitelaw, Jack Gosiewski, tries; Devon Makoare-Boyce 4 goals)