The NYC Rabbitohs have gone down 16 points to 34 in their ANZAC Round clash against a strong Brisbane Broncos side at ANZ Stadium tonight (Friday).
The Rabbitohs team has been struck with a long line of injuries affecting the likes of key players including Cruz Topai-Aveai, Tarquinn Butler, Kalani Ili, Phoenix Hunt, Henry-Siriah Fuimaono, Malachi Morgan and a season ending injury to Josh Cook. See the Alcatel High Performance Update for more details. The team also took to the field without their starting halfback Adam Doueihi who has been selected to play in the North Sydney Bears side this Sunday.
A late change saw three debutants Dean Hawkins, Ky Rodwell and Jordan Mailata play their first Holden Cup match for the Rabbitohs.
The Rabbitohs struggled in the opening minutes with the Broncos dominating in possession and continually applying pressure on Souths defence.
The away team’s strength would pay off in the sixth minute and the Broncos added the first points to the board with a try to lock Keegan Hipgrave. A second try soon followed in the far left hand corner of goal and the Broncos gave themselves a comfortable 10 points to zero lead in the first 10 minutes.
Once the Rabbitohs had possession they made plenty of metres up the field but couldn’t capitalize on their chances. But a penalty in front of goals for a high tackle saw the Rabbitohs pick up their speed and shift the ball along their back line to send debutant Hawkins over the line. Hawkins converted his own try and the Rabbitohs closed the gap six points to 10.
The Rabbitohs held their composure and Sam Johnstone charged over line for the Rabbitohs second try for the evening. Souths came into the lead for the first time 12 points to 10 with Hawkins slotting the ball straight through the uprights in front of goal for a successful conversion.
A clean intercept by Keaon Koloamatangi backed by a solid line break by Gabe Hamlin showed the team not to be underestimated despite the numerous absent starting players and the Rabbitohs went into the sheds at half time leading 12 points to 10.
The Broncos came out the sheds firing in the second half and mirroring their opening performance scored in the 43rd minuted. The converted try brought the Broncos into the lead and the Rabbitohs trailed 12 points to 16.
The Broncos slipped through the Rabbitohs defence for a second time and extended their lead by another six points. But the Rabbitohs didn’t give up and continued to attack in Broncos dangerous territory.
But it would be the Broncos that would add another try when a classy ball handling manoeuvre by Payne Haas landed them their fifth try for the evening. The Broncos sat in a comfortable lead 28 points to 12.
The Rabbitohs kept up their determination to get closer to the Broncos on the scoreboard but another try to the away team saw the hopes of catching up creep further away.
The Rabbitohs Tyrone Taukamo would be the last to add points for the night scoring on the full time siren but it wouldn't be enough to catch the Broncos who finish up with a 34-16 victory.
Brisbane Broncos 34 (Keegan Hipgrave, David Fauid, Payne Haas 2, Kotoni Staggs, Tristan Hope tries; Gerome Burns 5 goals)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 (Dean Hawkins, Sam Johnstone, Tyrone Taukamo tries; Dean Hawkins 2 goals)