The South Sydney Rabbitohs have met the Sydney Roosters on two occasions so far in 2014, with the ledger currently standing at one win apiece.
Both matches were played at a frenetic pace in front of a cumulative total of just under 60,000 Members and supporters in rounds one and 26.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs defeated defending Premiers the Sydney Roosters in round one of the Telstra Premiership in front of 27,282 Members and supporters at ANZ Stadium.
A hat-trick to Greg Inglis, a try to Bryson Goodwin and a perfect night with the boot for Adam Reynolds was enough to sink the Roosters in the first hit-out of the new-year.
The Rabbitohs showed some promise in the opening exchanges, with Chris McQueen making a massive break on the back of a set-play in the middle of the field before being taken 15 metres out from the try-line. George Burgess came within a whisker of scoring from the ensuing tackle, but was unable to get the ball over the line.
But it was the Roosters who went in right on the half-hour mark when they turned defence into attack on the back of a charge-down – Michael Jennings toeing through the batted down ball to score. James Maloney converted to make it 6-0 in favour of the visitors.
With Just under 20 minutes left in the first half, a penalty to the Rabbitohs put the side in good attacking position, and the breakthrough finally came – Greg Inglis powering over the line with brute strength out wide to open the Rabbitohs’ 2014 account. Adam Reynolds converted from out wide to level the scores up.
The Rabbitohs showed great enthusiasm through Luke Burgess – the big prop taking two hit-ups in one set before nearly finishing off with a try. But Burgess was ultimately denied by referee Ben Cummins on the grounds of a double-movement.
Burgess was at it again mere-minutes later, when on the back of a promising attacking raid, the Englishman again stretched out to score, only this time Burgess knocked the ball on half a metre short.
After a torrid period of play that saw a string of mistakes and penalties, the teams went to the sheds locked at six apiece.
On the resumption, a penalty to the Roosters within kicking distance allowed James Maloney to break the dead-lock from close range with a penalty-goal to make it 8-6 in favour of the Tricolours.
On the back of some brilliant defence from the Rabbitohs that forced the Roosters back in goal, the red and greens put themselves within striking distance and it was Greg Inglis who came away with a second try to take the lead – a brilliant movement from Luke Burgess and Dylan Walker opening a gaping hole for the fullback. Reynolds converted to make it 12-8 in the Rabbitohs’ favour with 27 minutes remaining.
A Sonny Bill Williams shoulder-charge attempt on Ben Lowe 29 metres out from the Rabbitohs’ try-line gave Adam Reynolds an opportunity to extend the lead shortly afterwards. The halfback made no mistake before another penalty shortly afterward – this time for holding down in the tackle – gifted Reynolds another two points from out wide. The Rabbitohs now enjoying an eight-point buffer.
The Rabbitohs continued to apply pressure, with long-range breaks from Chris McQueen, as well as a failed attempt by Nathan Merritt to ground the ball in-goal from a kick, saw the Roosters placed firmly on the back foot. But the men in red and green failed to convert the opportunities into points immediately.
But with five minutes remaining, a Rabbitohs bomb toward the in-goal allowed Bryson Goodwin to swoop and take the ball and the game right in front of the sticks. Reynolds made no mistake with the conversion attempt to make the score 22-8.
Greg Inglis wasn’t done yet though, with the Kangaroo representative grabbing another four-pointer with just under a minute of the match remaining. Reynolds converted to finish the night with six goals from six attempts, helping his side to the first two competition points of the year.
The Rabbitohs wemy down to the Sydney Roosters by 22-18 in round 26 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.
To watch a highlights package from both matches, please press play on the video player.