The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ 2016 Nines campaign has come to an end after going down to the Parramatta Eels by 24-11 at Eden Park this morning – the Eels advancing to the Quarter Finals along with the Melbourne Storm in the Waiheke Pool.
A win or a draw would have seen the Rabbitohs advance to the next phase of the tournament, however it was the Eels who came up trumps on the back of some slick back-line movements resulting in tries.
The Eels were in after just 30 seconds of play after the Parramatta side regathered their own kick-off before Semi Radradra slid in next to the corner-post. Corey Norman converted from the sideline to make it 6-0.
From the ensuing set, John Sutton went for a forty-twenty in an attempt to put the Rabbitohs in prime attacking position, but the skipper got more than he bargained for from the effort – the ball staying in play only for Bryson Goodwin to scoop it up and score to make it 6-4.
By the fourth minute, Luke Kelly was attacking the red and green line with gusto and eventually managed to send Norman over for four points to make it 10-4 in favour of the Parramatta side.
The Rabbitohs looked to atone when Damien Cook looked to spark an opportunity when he got outside the widest Eels defender before streaking some 40 metres down the sideline and kicking.
But while Cook’s kick was on-song and would have resulted in a certain try to Michael Oldfield, officials deemed that Cook had in fact stepped on the touch-line as defenders looked to take him out.
Just before half-time, Bevan French chased a kick into the in-goal hard and came up trumps for the blue and gold’s with a fast four-pointer to round out the first half, leaving the score at 14-4.
On the resumption, Cameron McInnes made his intentions clear when he powered over for a five-point try from dummy-half that narrowed the gap. With Cook’s conversion, the score read 14-11.
Vai Afu Toutai got his team back in prime position though with a try in the corner which Mitch Cornish converted to make it 20-11 with time fast running out for the Red and Green’s.
With the clock winding down, Radradra notched up his second try of the morning to seal the victory in the final minute of the clash to make the final score 24-11.
Eels 24 (Semi Radradra 2, Corey Norman, Bevan French, Vai Afu Toutai, tries; Corey Norman 1, Mitch Cornish 1, goals)
Rabbitohs 11 (Bryson Goodwin, Cameron McInnes, tries; Damien Cook 1 goals)