South Sydney have been crowned World Champions after demolishing English Super League Champions, St Helens, by a record World Club Challenge score of 39-0 at their home of Langtree Park in the UK.
The reigning NRL Premiers and Auckland Nines champs were a team on a mission in the UK as they proceeded to ruthlessly dismantle the pride of the ESL with the largest winning margin in WCC history, in front of 17.980.
The methodical seven tries to nil effort from the men in red and green included two tries to Joel Reddy as well as five goals and one field goal to Adam Reynolds on their way to world domination. George Burgess was a deserved Man of the Match.
The victory also means that the NRL have achieved a clean-sweep in the World Club Series, meaning two trophies will return to Australia.
It didn’t take long for the Rabbitohs to get on the board, with a confident Adam Reynolds putting a kick into the in-goal from the side’s very first set that saw a flying Glenn Stewart pounce to get first points. Reynolds converted to make it 6-0.
Glenn Stewart was in the thick of things again just moments later when he was awarded a penalty that gifted Adam Reynolds two points to make it 8-0.
Souths backed up the effort not long afterwards when Reynolds broke through down the St Helens flank before passing on to Dylan Walker who proceeded to turn the home-side inside out on his way to the try-line and another four points. Reynolds’s conversion was waved away, but Souths were only getting started.
Things started to look bad for St Helens in the 23rd minute when a beautiful back-line movement was capped off by Greg Inglis who raced through to score – the Rabbitohs skipper celebrating with a goanna. Reynolds made no mistake again to make it 18-0.
Saints began to calm down and their sets began to improve as a result – the side managing to string a few sets together and apply some pressure on the red and green’s. But despite the small positive signs, it was the Rabbitohs who would be next to score again.
Souths attacked the St Helens short-side through John Sutton, and with the back-rower running out of room, Sutton kicked back toward the posts and incredibly, initially finding the dirt, found Joel Reddy who scored in prime position. Reynolds added the extras to make the score an incredible 24-0.
The Saints came close to scoring on a number of occasions through Mark Percival in moments that were sent up to the video referee, but the Saints were denied time and time again in part thanks to the brilliant on-line defence of the men in red and green – the sides going to half-time with Michael Maguire’s men leading 24-0.
On the resumption, the Rabbitohs attacked the St Helens line with intent – so much intent that Jordan Turner nearly knocked himself out thanks to his commitment to wrapping up Walker on the last tackle right on the line. Turner came off second best while Walker lived to fight another day after a concussion test.
After a prolonged period of treatment on the field for both players, the Rabbitohs channelled all their efforts into the final play of the set. Adam Reynolds opted to kick across-field for Chris McQueen, who characteristically batted the ball back for Luke Keary who in turn scored. Reynolds added the extras to make it 30-0.
Despite efforts to get out of their red zone, St Helens were being pinned onto their own try-line, and thanks to a brick wall of red and green defence, the Rabbitohs forced an error inside the 10 and capitalised immediately through McQueen. The Club’s sixth try was celebrated with as much enthusiasm as the first with the score reading 34-0.
The Rabbitohs’ defence was proving to be a powerful attacking weapon, with the side gaining field position yet again before Joel Reddy came up with his second try of the night in the corner to make it 38-0 with just under 15 minutes in the match remaining.
Adam Reynolds added a final field goal as the clock wound down to finish the match, the World Club Series and the World Club Challenge by a record 39-0.
Rabbitohs 39 (Glenn Stewart, Dylan Walker, Greg Inglis, Joel Reddy 2, Luke Keary, Chris McQueen, tries; Adam Reynolds 5 goals, Adam Reynolds 1 field goal)
St Helens 0