The South Sydney Rabbitohs have put on an electric performance in Perth to down the New Zealand Warriors by 36-4 in front of a record crowd at nib Stadium for the third successive year.
A double to Dylan Walker - in his 50th career game - as part of a six tries to one effort was enough to demolish the visitors as the Rabbitohs showed their ruthless streak right up until full-time.
The Rabbitohs got on the board first when Bryson Goodwin attacked the New Zealand Warriors line before seemingly being tackled 10 metres out. But the referee called play on, allowing Goodwin to get up and continue on with the play and score. Issac Luke converted to give the Rabbits a six-point lead.
The two teams were playing exciting football at both ends of the field, but points were hard to come by despite the high quality of enterprising plays.
With the Rabbitohs pressing the Warriors line, a penalty 10 metres from the sticks was taken full advantage of when the side opted to take the two points. Issac Luke did the honours to make it 8-0 in favour of the men in red and green after 21 minutes.
Alex Johnston saved a try when he leapt above Manu Vatuvei to diffuse a cross-field kick, but from the ensuing set, Vatuvei made no mistake when he steamed onto a pass before racing 20 metres to score. Shaun Johnson’s conversion attempt was waved away, proving that the Rabbitohs’ earlier decision to take the penalty goal was justified.
Another penalty-goal to the Rabbitohs to make it 10-4 compounded the Warriors’ problems with Simon Mannering also leaving the field with a suspected concussion after being caught in an awkward position in a tackle.
With the Rabbitohs again on the attack, an amazing inside-ball to Dylan Walker saw the centre streak away before slipping over on the 10 metre line. But the play was far from done. Chris Grevsmuhl attacked down the short-side and came up trumps on the very next tackle when he crashed over to score. Issac Luke made no mistake from out wide to make it 16-4.
A mistake from the Kiwis on an attempted kick-diffusion on the last tackle opened the door for Souths to have a final throw of the dice before half-time and Tim Grant would be the ultimate beneficiary when he carried a handful of Warriors over the try-line with him to grab his first try in red and green. Issac Luke converted to make the half-time score 22-4.
On the resumption, the Rabbitohs kept up the momentum, narrowly missing out on a four-pointer to Thomas Burgess. But mere minutes later Dylan Walker strolled through the Warriors defence to make it 28-4 with Luke’s conversion.
Alex Johnston came within a whisker of scoring when Luke Keary put in a grubber kick for the unmarked Test winger who pounced on the ball. But the video referee disagreed and ruled against the try.
But Johnston wouldn’t be denied a few sets later, when Walker made a mockery of the Warriors defence by standing, stopping and weaving just 15 metres out before giving it on to Johnston who tip-toed across the line to make it 32-4.
Everyone seemed to be getting a piece of the action as the Rabbitohs continued to attack with gusto – front-rower Dave Tyrrell showing his versatility by forcing a line-drop-out with a grubber-kick into the in-goal.
Greg Inglis then ignited the contest when an attempt by the Warriors to bat the ball back in-field saw Greg Inglis swoop before racing 70 metres and being caught by fellow Golden Boot recipient, Shaun Johnson. On the very next tackle and with the Warriors in disarray, Souths went wide and came up with points when Dylan Walker crossed for his second of the match to make it 36-4.
Rabbitohs 36 (Bryson Goodwin, Chris Grevsmuhl, Tim Grant, Dylan Walker 2, Alex Johnston, tries; Issac Luke 6 goals)
Warriors 4 (Manu Vatuvei, try)