A hat-trick of tries to winger, Neihana Walters, has helped South Sydney’s NYC (under 20s) side to a 28-10 victory of the Canterbury-Bankstown-Bulldogs on Good Friday at ANZ Stadium.
Walters was in fine form, crossing the line on three occasions courtesy of some brilliant passing and lead-up work from the men inside him.
It was the Bulldogs who asserted their authority early in the match, but it wasn’t through the scoring of points, but rather with their powerful defence – the blue and whites consistently driving the Rabbitohs attack backwards.
But it wasn’t long before the defence turned into points though, with hooker Connor Jones darting from dummy half to open the scoring from close range for the Canterbury club. Zac Greene converted to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.
The Rabbitohs in return asked a number of questions of the Bulldogs’ defence, but were unable to turn the opportunities into points. On the 15 minute mark, the ‘Dogs came within a whisker of scoring again through Isaac Pedro, but the defence of Souths’ outside backs miraculously denied the centre in fine style.
After a number of further chances with the ball, the Bulldogs were in again 13 minutes from the break when a towering bomb towards the corner landed in the hands of winger, Marcelo Montoya, who touched down to make the score 10-0.
But the Rabbitohs would get one back just before half-time when a series of quick passing out the back-line resulted in an unmarked Neihana Walters strolling over in the corner untouched to take the teams into the sheds with the Bulldogs leading 10-4. The try would be the beginning of a Rabbitoh revival.
On the resumption, Souths’ Maia Sands crossed for a four pointer before Chad O’Donnell equalised with his conversion to make it 10 apiece.
O’Donnell was about to do better than that though – the five-eighth taking a beautifully-timed inside pass from Siosifa Talakai to streak away to score a converted try under the sticks to take the lead at 16-10.
Talakai was only just getting warmed up though, with the big centre busting through the Bulldogs defence before drawing the fullback and passing to Walters who streaked away for his second try of the match. O’Donnell again added the extras with a bending kick to take the score to 22-10 in favour of the Rabbitohs.
Walters would grab what a prove a game-clinching hat-trick mere moments later when he took a sensational pass from O’Donnell to score out wide to make it 26-10.
A penalty to the Rabbitohs within kicking distance saw O’Donnell then kick his team a further two points ahead to make the final score 28-10.
Rabbitohs 28 (Neihana Walters 3, Maia Sands, Chad O’Donnell, tries; Chad O’Donnell 4 goals)
Bulldogs 10 (Connor Jones, Marcelo Montoya, tries; Zac Greene 1 goals)