The Rabbitohs have gotten their 2016 Nines campaign underway in thrilling fashion at Eden Park this morning (Saturday), defying the run of play to claim a one-point victory over arch-rivals, the Sydney Roosters.
A total of three Rabbitohs tries plus a dead-lock breaking conversion from Damien Cook in the dying seconds of the match was enough to claim victory for the red and greens.
Bryson Goodwin got proceedings off to a thrilling start by slicing straight through the Roosters’ defensive line before streaking some 65 metres to put them into good field position. Souths were ultimately unable to capitalise on the opportunity.
But a Roosters forward pass immediately off the restart saw Alex Johnston open the tournament’s score-sheet by hitting and spinning before dragging a Rooster over the line with him. Johnston’s conversion attempt was off the mark, leaving the score at 4-0
The Chooks hit back though when Jason Manu stepped through Souths’s line before passing on to a flying Latrell Mitchell who grabbed himself a bonus zone try (five points), and with the missed conversion, the Roosters led 5-4.
Returning retiree, Braith Anasta, then got himself on the board from close-range when he stepped close to the line and barged over to make it 9-4 in favour of the tricolours.
With some 20 seconds left in the first half, a turnover to Souths saw Kirisome Auva’a take advantage of an overlap out wide to score, taking the score at the break to 9-8 in favour of the Roosters.
Two and a half minutes after the break, Jason Clark tried in vain to plant the ball over the line only to be obstructed by the uprights.
But the Roosters made no mistake with their next opportunity when Tyler Cornish put in a perfectly-weighted long-range kick that sat up perfectly in the in-goal for Joe Burgess to score to make it 13-8.
With the clock winding down, Michael Oldfield became an unlikely try-scorer when he chased down the ball in-goal before momentarily losing the ball from his sights when it disappeared between his legs. When the pill re-surfaced, Oldfield planted it down and with Cook’s conversion, managed to claim a brilliant victory against the run of play.
Rabbitohs 14 (Alex Johnston, Kirisome Auva’a, Michael Oldfield, tries; Damien Cook 1 goals)
Roosters 13 (Latrell Mitchell, Braith Anasta, Joe Burgess)