The South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC side have been defeated 16-18 by the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in a thriller at ANZ Stadium tonight (Monday).
With both sides controlling periods of the match in difficult conditions, the Sharks would eventually claim a thrilling victory despite a late comeback from the spirited Rabbitohs who had a chance to draw level after the siren.
The scoring would be opened off the back of consecutive penalties to the Sharks, as Josh Tuilagi made the most of the overlap to cross out wide. Rhys Davies was unable to add the extras for the visitors as the score remained 4-0.
It would not take long for the Rabbitohs to bounce back and register their first points of the match, with Jacob McCudden showing great strength close to the line to barge over. O’Donnell was gifted the simplest of conversions to give his side a 6-4 lead.
The Rabbitohs would back up their opening effort with a second four-pointer soon after, courtesy of back to back penalties which would see Bailey Shiach-Wise stroll over the try-line untouched. O’Donnell was unable to back up his previous effort with the boot, meaning the score would remain 10-4 in favour of the home side.
Despite a strong period from the home side, the Sharks would claw their way back into the contest as Isaac Lumelume took on the Rabbitohs defence to reduce the deficit for his side. Davies could not level the score as his conversion attempt from the sideline was waved away, with the score remaining 10-8.
With half-time looming, the Sharks would reclaim the lead through Sione Katoa, with the winger showing some pace to beat his defender out wide. These would prove to be the final points of the half as the sides went into the break with the visitors leading 12-10.
On resumption, both teams struggled to capitalise on their attacking opportunities in the wet conditions. Despite this, Lachlan Stein would score in the 50th minutes, showing speed and agility to breach the Rabbitohs defence and cross next to the uprights. Davies added the extras to extend his sides lead beyond a converted try at 18-10.
The wet weather woes continued throughout the second-half as both sides struggled to impact the scoreboard. Tarquinn Butler would eventually break the try-scoring drought, crossing in the 78th minute to keep his side in the game. O’Donnell added the extras to reduce the margin to two points at 18-16.
Chad O’Donnell would have a chance to draw level with a penalty goal on the siren, but the half-back was unable to add the two points as the Sharks claimed a tight victory.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 18 (Josh Tuilagi, Isaac Lumelume, Sione Katoa, Lachlan Stein tries; Rhys Davies 1 goal)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 (Jacob McCudden, Bailey Shiach-Wise, Tarquinn Butler tries; Chad O’Donnell 2 goals)