The South Sydney Rabbitohs have been defeated 20-6 by the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium tonight (Thursday).
Although the away side claimed what appeared to be a comfortable victory on paper, it was far from being a one-sided affair as the Rabbitohs showed plenty of promise at stages throughout the match against their table topping opponents.
Despite the slippery conditions, there were positive signs early on in attack for the home side with Cody Walker effortlessly breaking through the Roosters defence in the opening minutes of the clash. However, it would be the Roosters that would post the first points of the evening courtesy of a slick backline shift finished off by Latrell Mitchell in the 6th minute. The extras were provided by Michael Gordon, leaving the tri colours with a six point lead.
The Roosters would be the next to feature on the scoreboard as Joseph Manu linked up with Michael Gordon who pierced the South Sydney defensive line before crawling over to score. Similarly to his first attempt, the visiting custodian was precise with the boot, converting his own try from out wide.
Trailing by twelve points, the Rabbitohs started to find their rhythm in attack, featuring deep within enemy territory and applying pressure to the Rooster defence. Handling errors and poor execution proved costly for the Red and Greens though, as they were unable to capitalise on their field position in the middle period of the opening stanza.
Late in the half, the away side would break the point scoring drought – which saw neither side contribute to the score for a 25 minute period – after Michael Gordon was gifted a penalty goal off the back of a slow release. These would prove to be the final points of the half as the sides went into the sheds with the Roosters leading by 14 points to nil.
On resumption, the players were welcomed back to the field by consistent rain, although this didn’t appear to have an effect on either team as they continued to shift the ball around in search of points. This willingness to attack seemed to favour the home side who had four back to back sets from close range.
The sustained pressure saw the tricolours defence give way for the first time in the match as Sitiveni Moceidreke strolled over for a four pointer on debut for the Red and Green. Adam Reynolds conversion from the sideline was his 400th goal at the top level and saw his side reduce the buffer to eight points.
Despite struggling to press forward early in the second period, the Roosters soon found themselves on the front foot as they attacked South Sydney’s right edge defence. After falling short on his first attempt in the corner, Daniel Tupou would not be denied the second time around, scoring in the 57 minute. Gordon’s perfect night with the boot continued to set up a 20-6 score line in favour of the visitors.
Wet conditions began to hamper to efforts of both sides late in the half as points proved hard to come by. The dominant start from the Roosters would prove to be enough as they would go on to claim a 14 point win.
Sydney Roosters 20 (Mitchell, Gordon, Tupou tries; Gordon 4 goals)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (Moceidreke tries; Reynolds goals)