The South Sydney Rabbitohs have gone down to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the NYC in trying conditions by 26-22 in the Shire.
Wind and rain were the order of the evening, with both teams defying the conditions to put on a solid performance.
With a howling gale behind them, the Sharks charged up-field and came up with first points through back-rower Anthony Moraitis, who crashed over to open the scoring. After battling the wind on three occasions to get the ball to stay on the tee, Jamayne Isaako converted from virtually right in front to give the home-side a 6-0 lead.
Levi Sopi added another four points to the Sharks’ tally shortly afterwards after taking a grubber-kick in the in-goal to score un-marked making it 10-0.
After receiving a goal-line drop-out, the Rabbitohs made the most of their opportunities with Aaron Booth powering his way under the sticks. With the assistance of another Rabbitoh holding the ball, Jordie Hedges converted to make it 10-6 with 12 minutes left in the half.
But the Sharks would hit back five minutes from the break through halfback Jayden Brailey, who crossed under the sticks before Isaako again added the extras to make it 16-6 going into the break.
On the resumption, the Rabbitohs went straight on the attack, and with the aid of the wind now behind them, the men in red and green marched up-field to finally see Liam Coleman score under the sticks. Hedges added the extras to make it 16-12.
But the Sharks would respond immediately with Sopi grabbing his second of the evening after racing down the touch-line to make it 20-12.
Conditions began to deteriorate further with rain worsening visibility and the wind picking up. But Irae Simone didn’t seem to mind, with the centre racing over to return serve for the Rabbitohs. Hedges came close with his conversion attempt from the side-line, but a gust of wind sent the kick awry.
Damon Goolagong then added his name to the Rabbitohs’ score-card when he raced down the touch-line to score an important try. Hedges converted a booming conversion from touch to take the lead at 22-20.
But the lead was short-lived as Semisi Vea ran through the middle of the Rabbits’ defence before racing 60 metres to score. Isaako converted to make it 26-22 with seven minutes left on the clock.
Sharks 26 (Anthony Moraitis, Levi Sopi 2, Jayden Brailey, Semisi Vea, tries; Jamayne Isaako 3 goals)
Rabbitohs 22 (Aaron Booth, Liam Coleman, Irae Simone, Damon Goolagong tries; Jordie Hedges 3 goals)