The South Sydney Rabbitohs have gone down to the Sydney Roosters by 22-18 tonight (Thursday) at Allianz Stadium to finish off the regular season in third position – also taking the Ron Coote Cup in the process.
With the side down 22-2 late in the match, a spirited fight-back in the latter stages saw the men in red and green come within four points of victory to take the Cup named in Coote’s honour on points aggregate.
A penalty to the Roosters right in front of the sticks allowed James Maloney to kick his team two points ahead with a penalty goal.
But Souths wouldn’t be outdone, with the side opting to take a penalty-goal of their own at the other end of the field not long afterwards when Sonny Bill Williams held onto Issac Luke too long in a tackle. Luke calmly slotted the goal to even it all up at two apiece.
Another penalty to the Roosters was enough incentive for the home-side to run almost the length of the field, before Daniel Tupou scored in the corner despite a desperate defensive effort from Luke Keary and Lote Tuqiri. The video referee’s searched for a number of knock-ons in the movement before the try was eventually awarded. Maloney added the extras from the touch-line to make it 8-2.
With the game growing in intensity, the Rabbitohs’ defence muscled up, forcing a goal-line drop-out to allow for an attacking opportunity. Alex Johnston almost capitalised when John Sutton chipped into the corner, but the side came up empty-handed.
Despite a number of opportunities for Souths late in the half, the sides would go to the sheds with the Roosters leading 8-2 as the rain began to fall again.
The second half started poorly for the red and greens, with Kirisome Auva’a sin-binned for a professional foul – laying on Mitchell Pearce in a tackle. James Maloney took the opportunity to boot his side two points further ahead to make it 10-2.
With the Rabbitohs reduced to 12 men, the Roosters immediately took advantage by making a break on the fringes before passing back on the inside to a flying Anthony Minichiello to score. Maloney added the extras, but it didn’t end there – the Tricolours’ five-eighth grabbing a four-pointer of his own before again converting to make it 22-2.
With 16 minutes on the clock remaining, a wayward pass from Daniel Tupou was picked up by Dylan Walker, who danced through the Roosters defence to touch down for the Rabbitohs first try of the night. Luke converted to make the score 22-8.
The Roosters’ Aidan Guerra came within a whisker of extending the home-side’s lead, but some brilliant Greg Inglis defence saw the back-rower held up over the line.
Souths then proceeded to bag another four-pointer, when a well-orchestrated set-play saw Alex Johnston burst through a mid-field gap to dance through and score under the posts. Luke quickly converted to make it 22-14 with nine minutes remaining.
A fight-back was on the cards when a Roosters fifth tackle kick dribbled over the dead-ball line, with the the Rabbitohs using the opportunity to march straight back up-field. A back-line movement would see Lote Tuqiri slide in for a four-pointer to make it 22-18 to finish off the match.
Roosters 22 (Daniel Tupou, Anthony Minichiello, James Maloney, tries; James Maloney 5 goals)
Rabbitohs 18 (Dylan Walker, Alex Johnston, Lote Tuqiri, tries; Issac Luke 3 goals)