Coming off the back of a successful pre-season that included victory at the Auckland Nines, the Charity Shield and the World Club Challenge, the South Sydney Rabbitohs travelled to Suncorp Stadium for their Round 1 clash with the Brisbane Broncos – an affair which saw the men in red in green claim victory 36-6.
Leading into the match with a near full-strength team, the Rabbitohs were looking to make it three first round victories in a row and pick up from where they left off against the Broncos – who they beat 43-16 last time they met in Round 23, 2014. Despite their previous success, Souths had their work cut out for them, only having won three of eleven matches played at Suncorp.
Playing against an explosive Broncos forward-pack that boasted five international players, Souths set about proving themselves in the best possible way on the field – opening their season with a controlled performance by scoring five tries to the Broncos one. Adam Reynolds posted a perfect performance with the boot, kicking eight goals from eight attempts.
First points for the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership were provided courtesy of a Reynolds penalty-goal after the Broncos gave away a penalty for holding down directly in front of the uprights. The Broncos followed suit with their own two-pointer when Corey Parker’s shot at goal sailed over the black dot from a similar position to Reynolds’ attempt.
After conceding the initial points via penalty goals, both sides illustrated their attacking prowess through some well-orchestrated set-plays, yet both sides came up fruitless. The deadlock would be broken when the Broncos gifted possession to the men in red in green, who were in-turn awarded a penalty. The opportunity to attack was seized by Dylan Walker, who showed great strength and agility to score out wide. Reynolds converted the try from the touch-line to give the Rabbithohs an 8-2 lead.
South Sydney extended their lead to 10-2, after Isaac Luke was collected high in a Sam Thaiday tackle, with Reynolds taking the shot at goal directly in front, 40 metres out, to take the two points with four minutes remaining in the half. Some sharp work in attack almost saw the Rabbitohs add to their tally before the half time siren sounded, but the Broncos held on to head to the break, down 10-2.
On the resumption, an error from Jordan Kahu – occurring as a result of a towering Adam Reynolds spiral bomb – gifted South Sydney with prime field position. John Sutton took full advantage of the attacking opportunity, crashing over from close-range under the posts. Reynolds continued his fine form with the boot, easily adding the extras to lift the men in red and green to a 16-2 lead.
Minutes later, the Rabbitohs combined to shift the ball out wide to winger Alex Johnston, who managed to offload to Greg Inglis, who in-turn finished off the work of his teammate. Reynolds was up to the challenge of the side line conversion, maintaining his perfect record for the night to secure a 22-2 advantage.
A series of penalties to the Broncos provided the home side with their first real attacking chance, and after plenty of hard work in offence, Matt Gillett was able to open the scoring out wide. This would prove to be the final points for Brisbane, as Corey Parker was unable to convert the try, leaving the scores at 22-6.
The Rabbitohs pounced once more, with a characteristic darting run from Isaac Luke out of dummy half. Luke linked up with a support runner in the form of Inglis, who sliced through the Broncos line and passed to Luke Keary, who then streaked away to score untouched. Once again, Reynolds kicked the conversion with ease, taking the score-line out to 28-6.
With the game all but over, the Rabbitohs added to Brisbane’s woes through a well-executed back-line play which saw the ball shift from to the right edge, where Joel Reddy would touch down for his first try of the season. Reynolds continued to display his kicking prowess from all angles, converting from the sideline for a 34-6 lead.
The icing on the cake was fittingly provided by Reynolds, when he nailed a booming penalty goal from 51 metres out, providing the little halfback with a perfect record off the boot for the night and sealing an emphatic victory for the men in red and green.
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