The South Sydney Rabbitohs claimed a well-deserved victory in their round six clash defeating the Penrith Panthers 21-20 in front of a crowd of 15,535 at Pepper Stadium tonight (Friday).
The Rabbitohs found a nice rhythm early and picked up the pace of the game from previous weeks. The Panthers were the first to make a mistake when a poor pass from Michael Oldfield left the ball open for Siosifa Talakai to jump on for possession. A slow peel by the Panthers Dylan Edwards followed and saw Adam Reynolds line up for a penalty shot. His successful conversion brought the Rabbitohs into an early two point to zero lead.
It didn’t take long for the red and green jersey to reach the try line after a huge fend from Angus Crichton saw him offload the ball to Sam Burgess. The captain led his team by powering over the line for the nights’ first four-pointer. Reynolds slotted the conversion right through the uprights and the Rabbitohs led eight points to zero within the first 10 minutes.
The Panthers were the next to score when an offload in the left corner saw Dallin Watene-Zelezniak make his way over the try line. Nathan Cleary’s successful conversion saw the Panthers close in on the Rabbitohs eight to six point lead.
Robert Jennings stepped his way over the Penrith’s defence and onto the try line but a decision by the bunker decided the ball was held up and a no try call resulted in a last tackle 10 metres out.
The Panthers took off making 70 metres and putting pressure back on the Rabbitohs defence. The Panthers found a crack and Corey Hawawira-Naera slotted through to take the Panthers into the lead for the first time in the match. Cleary added two more and the Panthers led 12 points to eight.
The Rabbitohs again faltered giving away a penalty in front of the uprights with Cleary clearing the crossbar. The Panthers extended their lead 14 points to eight.
With minutes counting down towards half time the Rabbitohs attack picked up the pace and a dummy pass from Cody Walker saw the opposition open up a gap. Walker bolted towards the line and although reference to the bunker, the referee confirmed the Rabbitohs second try for the evening. Reynolds levelled the score board by a successful conversion from far out left and the Rabbitohs went into the sheds level with the Panthers 14 points each.
The second half again started in the Rabbitohs favour adding another couple of points to the board through a quick backline manoeuvre and partnership by Walker and Reynolds. Walker showed his side stepping skills and stepped his way around three defenders before slotting the ball into the path of Reynolds who flew over the line for his first try of the season. Reynolds sealed his four-pointer with a successful shot at goal keeping his kicking conversion rate at 100% and bringing the Rabbitohs back into the lead 20 points to 14.
The Rabbitohs momentum built and they continued to apply pressure on the Panthers defence but the home side fought back moving the play into Rabbitohs dangerous territory. Despite their efforts the Panthers couldn’t capitalise on their chances.
However the Panthers would add another four-pointer through Michael Oldfield with four minutes remaining on the clock leaving the Cleary to level the points at 20-all.
A minute remained on the clock but it would be the Rabbitohs who would add the final point for the night through a successful field goal attempt by Reynolds.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 21 (Sam Burgess, Cody Walker, Adam Reynolds tries; Adam Reynolds 4 goals; Adam Reynolds field goal)
Penrith Panthers 20 (Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Corey Harawira-Naera, Michael Oldfield tries; Nathan Cleary 3 goals)