The South Sydney Rabbitohs continued their undefeated run in the opening three rounds of the 2015 season with the side securing a 20-6 win over the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium in Round 3.
Coming off the back of victories against the Brisbane Broncos and the Sydney Roosters, the Rabbitohs encountered a Wests Tigers outfit who also found themselves with two victories from two outings.
In the initial rounds of the season, South Sydney proved that they could amass points against some of the strongest defensive teams in the competition, scoring 70 points in their first two matches. Despite this, the red and green display against their cross-town rivals, the Sydney Roosters, also proved that improvements needed to be made. The Rabbitohs conceded 26 points – including three tries in seven minutes.
Leading into the match, Coach Michael Maguire made minor changes to the team that took the field in Round 2. Tim Grant made his NRL debut for the Club, coming into the side for the injured John Sutton, whilst young hooker, Cameron McInnes, claimed a spot on the bench in place of Ben Lowe.
Early signs were not positive for the men in red and green, as Joel Reddy had the ball stripped after defusing a towering bomb, allowing Pat Richards to score out wide. Luckily for Souths, the try was disallowed as Richards was deemed to have been off-side from the kick.
The Tigers continued to target the flanks, this time on the other side via Kevin Naiqama, who came close to scoring in the corner, only to be denied by a desperate effort from Alex Johnston.
Minutes later, the Rabbitohs responded with a blind-side raid, but were unable to secure any points after Joel Reddy’s final pass to Dylan Walker was ruled to have gone forward. This would prove to be the start of an error-riddled first-half, which saw both teams remain scoreless for the opening 30 minutes of the match.
The deadlock was eventually broken, with Robbie Farah grubbering close to the line and re-gathering a deflection of the feet of a Rabbitohs defender, which saw the Tigers rake dive over for a four-pointer. Richards added the extras from directly in front, giving the joint-venture a 6-0 lead.
South Sydney quickly responded to the try, as some skilled back-line movement saw Greg Inglis deliver a well-timed cut-out pass to Alex Johnston out wide with the winger scoring his 24th try in 21 top grade games. Reynolds converted from the touch-line to level the scores at six apiece.
The Rabbitohs were not done there, as they found themselves in an attacking position courtesy of a Tigers handling error with less than two minutes before the break. Adam Reynolds rolled a perfectly weighted kick into the in-goal area on the final play of the set, which saw a flying Dylan Walker touch down to provide Souths with the lead. Reynolds was unable to convert, leaving his side with a 10-6 advantage heading into the sheds.
On the resumption, the Rabbitohs were gifted an opportunity as a result of a Tigers handling error which saw the side on the attack deep within enemy territory. A clinically executed set-play saw Reynolds link up with Inglis who beat two would be defenders before crashing over to score. Once again, Reynolds converted from the sideline, extending Souths’ lead to 16-6.
The latter period of the second stanza would prove to be a grinding affair dominated by a number of fiery incidents which threatened to see tensions boil over.
It was not until the final five minutes of the match that the result was put beyond doubt, as a wounded Dylan Walker reaped the benefits of a Reynolds grubber, scoring his second try for the afternoon. Reynolds failed to add the extra points from the conversion, leaving the score at 20-6.
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