And then there were six. After four games played at a frenetic pace in week one of the NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series, the finals race has already been whittled down to six teams, with both the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm bowing out.
The competition began on Friday night when our very own South Sydney Rabbitohs thumped the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles by 40-24 in front of a massive show of red and green support at Allianz Stadium.
In a seven tries to four effort, Adam Reynolds bagged himself a personal haul of 20 points including two tries, while Alex Johnston also grabbed a double to help his side to victory. But it wasn’t all fair sailing for the Rabbitohs. After racing out to a 40-0 lead, a Sea Eagles fight-back saw the maroon and white’s score all their 24 points in the final 15 minutes of the match. But the damage had already been done – the Rabbitohs progressing to week three of the finals. The Sea Eagles will now play in an elimination-final against the Bulldogs in week two.
The Sydney Roosters and the Penrith Panthers were the next cabs off the finals rank on Saturday evening at Allianz Stadium – the two sides playing out a thrilling match that ended in a 19-18 late victory to the Panthers, thanks to the pin-point boot of Jamie Soward, who kicked a field-goal to secure victory.
The Panthers’ victory means the men from the foot of the mountains now also progress to week three alongside the Rabbitohs, while the Roosters will go to an elimination-final against the Cowboys.
Saturday also played host to a Queensland derby between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Brisbane Broncos – the Cowboys coming away with a 32-20 win at home to end the Brisbane side’s season. The Cowboys will now play in week two of the finals against the Roosters.
The final game of week one saw the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs knock-out the Melbourne Storm this evening (Sunday) in a dominant performance in Melbourne by 28-4.
The results mean that the lower ranked teams in three of four matches, dominated their highly fancied opponents – the Cowboys the only exception.
The Rabbitohs will now have the week off ahead of week three’s Preliminary Final clash against the victor of the Roosters and Cowboys in week two. Penrith will also have the week off, and will wait to meet the victor of the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs.
Stay tuned to Rabbitohs.com.au for all the latest Rabbitohs finals news.