The South Sydney Rabbitohs have claimed their third victory of the season, downing the Wests Tigers by 20-6 in front of 23,211 Members and supporters.
A two-try effort from a courageous Dylan Walker – who played the majority of the match with limited use of one of his hands – helped to inspire the red and greens to a gritty victory. But the Tigers didn’t go down easily, testing the Rabbitohs throughout the match.
The game seemed to start poorly for the red and greens when a bomb was diffused by Joel Reddy, but was then stripped of the ball leading to Pat Richards racing over to score. But the video referee ruled against the try.
The Tigers continued to look dangerous with the ball in hand when Kevin Naiqama tested the Rabbitohs on the opposite flank – the winger narrowly missing the chance to score.
In a low-scoring affair, Souths were their own worst enemy throughout the opening stanza, with a myriad of handling errors hampering the side’s efforts.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, Robbie Farah finally broke the dead-lock when his own kick from dummy-half rebounded back into his own hands, allowing the hooker to score under the sticks. Pat Richards added the extras to give Wests the lead.
Souths hit back straight away four minutes from the break when a back-line movement saw Greg Inglis slip a perfectly-timed ball to Alex Johnston who raced the remaining 15 metres to score the side’s opening points of the match. Reynolds nailed the touchline conversion to equalise.
The Rabbitohs refused to go to the sheds with just the one try though – Adam Reynolds needling a well-weighted kick into the in-goal for a flying Dylan Walker to score despite being in obvious discomfort thanks to a hand injury. Reynolds failed to convert, taking the teams to the sheds with Souths leading 10-6.
Despite a handful of mistakes to start off the second stanza, the Rabbitohs built strongly before mounting a magical set-play that included a wrap-around from Glenn Stewart before culminating in Greg Inglis going over to score. Reynolds added the extras from out wide to take the score to 16-6.
Martin Taupau incurred the wrath of the Rabbitohs faithful after he pushed Adam Reynolds to the ground in an unprovoked off the ball incident that had the Souths halfback clutching at his shoulder. Souths forwards, led by Issac Luke, got their revenge on Tapau close to the line when they hit the lock-forward in a hard tackle before he spilt the ball.
The battle continued into the next tackle when Issac Luke lost the ball after being tackled by Tapau, but the referee awarded the men in red and green a penalty for swinging. Wests would ultimately survive the raid.
With five minutes in the clash remaining, Dylan Walker grabbed his second of the day when he was again the beneficiary of an Adam Reynolds grubber-kick into the in-goal – the Test centre swooping onto the pill to all but seal the result of the match. Reynolds failed to add the extras, leaving the score at 20-6. The win is the Rabbitohs’ third win of the season.
Rabbitohs 20 (Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker 2, Greg Inglis tries; Adam Reynolds 2 goals)
Tigers 6 (Robbie Farah, tries; Pat Richards 1 goals)