The South Sydney Rabbitohs have raced away to a six-tries-to-two, 34 points to 12, victory over the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium today (Sunday) in front of 15,212 Members and supporters.
The Rabbitohs won by 22 points in the end despite a spirited display from the home side, however Souths were dominant from start to finish.
Captain Greg Inglis was the first to score for South Sydney when Adam Reynolds grubber kicked through the line on the Rabbitohs’ third repeat set in Knights territory. Inglis grabbed the bouncing ball above his head and acrobatically grounded it just centimetres inside the dead ball line for the four-pointer. Reynolds converted to give the Rabbitohs a six-nil lead after nine minutes.
The Rabbitohs kept the pressure on the Knights, however some loose handling thwarted a number of scoring chances for the men in red and green.
The Rabbitohs finally turned the pressure into points with Alex Johnston on the end of a beautiful backline movement to score in the right hand corner in the 29th minute, taking the score to ten-nil in favour of the visitors.
Two minutes later Inglis made a huge bust up the middle of the field, only to see Damien Cook put the ball down with the line wide open, closing out another opportunity for the Rabbitohs to register points.
In the 38th minute, Adam Reynolds ran right and snap kicked back to the left, finding Cody Walker on the full who raced under the black dot to score. Reynolds converted from in front to take the score line to 16-0 at the half time break.
The Rabbitohs were the dominant side in both attack and defence in the first 40 minutes, and would be looking to turn in the same, if not improved, performance over the second 40 minutes of the game.
Souths only took four minutes to register points in the second half, when centre Aaron Gray scored a well-deserved try, charging hard and straight between defenders to score to the left of the posts. Reynolds converted to give the Rabbitohs a 22-0 lead after 45 minutes of play.
The Knights registered their first points in the 54th minute when debutant Dylan Phythian, who had been on the field only for a couple of minutes, dived over from dummy half to score a soft try. Trent Hodkinson’s conversion reduced the deficit to 16 points for the home side.
The Knights’ try sparked the Rabbitohs into action again, and three minutes later Sam Burgess crashed over adjacent to the uprights, wrestling away from two defenders to score. Reynolds added the extras to restore the 22-point lead.
Alex Johnston scored his second try of the game, and arguably the easiest of his career, when Adam Reynolds put in a cross field kick to an unmarked ‘AJ’ who strolled over into the right hand corner. Reynolds converted from the touchline to extend the lead to 34-6 with 15 minutes left on the clock.
The edges started to fray in the final 15 minutes with a push-and-shove breaking out after Cody Walker finished off a tackle on Dane Gagai.
The Knights scored a late consolation try to fullback Jake Mamo, who broke the line, chip kicked for himself and scored. The retiring Jeremy Smith added the extras to take the score line to 34-12 with four minutes left on the clock.
The Rabbitohs were dominant throughout the contest and only poor handling on a few occasions prevented the winning margin from being greater.
The Rabbitohs now have a five-day-turnaround into their final game of the season in an away game against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Friday.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 (Alex Johnston 2, Greg Inglis, Cody Walker, Aaron Gray, Sam Burgess tries; Adam Reynolds 5 goals)
Newcastle Knights 12 (Dylan Phythian, Jake Mamo tries; Trent Hodkinson, Jeremy Smith goals)