The Rabbitohs have gone down to the Sydney Roosters in Round 6 of the NRL Premiership, by 16-10 at ANZ Stadium, but have taken the Ron Coote Cup having beaten the Bondi Club 42-10 in Round 1.
Despite strong showings at the beginning of both halves of the match, the Rabbitohs were unable to capitalise, with Aaron Gray scoring the side’s sole try of the evening in the first half.
A territory war inside the first six minutes saw both teams fighting for field-position before the Rabbitohs forced the first repeat-set courtesy of a well-weighted grubber into the in-goal from Luke Keary.
The ensuing attacking raid saw the Roosters come up short in defence on their blind-side, with Souths’ Kirisome Auva’a running the ball before being tackled with an unmarked Bryson Goodwin outside him – an opportunity gone begging, with a similar opportunity mere moments later ending with a similar result.
But despite the early dominance from the Rabbitohs, it would be the Roosters who would grab first points after a break in mid-field led to Jackson Hastings kicking across-field to an unmarked Daniel Tupou to score in the corner. Hastings’ conversion attempt was waved away leaving the score at 4-0.
The pendulum began to swing well and truly in favour of the Tricolours, and that fact would be confirmed when replacement five-eighth, Aiden Guerra ran a brilliant line to score under the posts. Hastings added the extras to make it 10-0 with 13 minutes in the half remaining.
The Rabbitohs had their backs to the wall and when Aaron Gray ran on the final tackle before desperately kicking into centre-field, it seemed the Roosters would march up-field through Shaun Kenny-Dowall. But the Roosters winger would throw a misdirected pass that would be picked up by Souths just 15 metres from the line.
Mere moments later, a back-line movement saw Hymel Hunt bat on a ball to Aaron Gray who would open the Red and Green account for the evening. Goodwin’s conversion attempt was waved away, leaving the score at 10-4 going into the break.
The Rabbitohs came out with renewed enthusiasm in the second stanza, with the men in Red and Green being a little more adventurous with their play in the opening minutes. Cameron McInnes sought to sneak a try from dummy-half inside the first five minutes of the half, but the hooker was deemed to have lost the ball by the Bunker.
But in similar fashion to the first half, the early dominance would be overcome by the Roosters when Dylan Napa pounced on the ball in-goal to score his side’s third try of the night despite the efforts of Greg Inglis to ground the pill. Hastings converted to make it 16-4.
Both teams traded opportunities, but it was the Roosters who looked in control for much of the second half in both attack and defence – Dylan Napa stinging with his defence while the Rabbitohs attempted in vain to add to their points tally.
Hastings would kick a field goal before Cody Walker would eventually grab a second try for the Rabbitohs with just three minutes in the match remaining – Goodwin converting to make the final score 17-10 in favour of the Roosters.
Roosters 17 (Daniel Tupou, Aiden Guerra, Dylan Napa, tries; Jackson Hastings 2 goals; Jackson Hastings 1 field-goal)
Rabbitohs 10 (Aaron Gray, Cody Walker, tries; Bryson Goodwin 1 goal)