The South Sydney Rabbitohs have opened their 2015 Auckland Nines campaign with an 11-4 victory over the Penrith Panthers at Eden Park today.
A bonus zone try to Jason Clark and a four-pointer to Chris McQueen, along with an Adam Reynolds conversion – all scored in the first half was enough to hand the Rabbitohs victory.
But it was the Panthers who would open the scoring. An Isaac John kick on a final tackle into the corner was enough to open the scoring when Tupou Sopoaga collected before running over for an unconverted try.
Adam Reynolds took charge straight after though when he put his boots to good use, grubbering between the legs of a Panther before Jason Clark picked it up to score a try in the bonus zone to take the lead. Reynolds converted from right in front to make it 7-4
Shortly after, it was Issac Luke’s turn to seize an opportunity. From dummy half, Luke was making easy metres deep inside the Panthers half on consecutive tackles. Chris McQueen eventually benefited from the movement with a four-pointer. Luke missed the conversion from out wide to take the teams into the sheds at 11-4.
The Rabbitohs started their first set of the second half poorly when Adam Reynolds sailed two final tackle kicks out on the full, putting the Panthers in prime attacking position. But the Panthers failed to take advantage.
Matt King injected himself by sneaking down the Panthers short-side just 10 metres out before linking up with Setefano Taukafa. The new recruit came within millimetres of scoring, only to lose the ball at the death.
With the clock winding down, Penrith had the chance to level things up with a last ditch play, but the Rabbitohs held on the finish the match at a low-scoring 11-4.
Rabbitohs 11 (Jason Clark, Chris McQueen, tries; Adam Reynolds 1 goal)
Panthers 4 (Tupou Sopoaga try)