The South Sydney Rabbitohs have been defeated in a close encounter by the Brisbane Broncos 24-25 in front of a crowd of 11,083 in the official ANZAC Round of the Telstra Premiership at ANZ Stadium tonight (Friday).
The Rabbitohs side were rocked by late changes to the starting line-up with Adam Reynolds ruled out yesterday (Thursday) due to a hip injury. Hymel Hunt returned after a four-week suspension starting out on the wing while John Sutton moved to five-eighth pushing Cody Walker into the halfback position. Other changes saw George Burgess start as prop while Kyle Turner moved into the second row.
The Rabbitohs were the first to score for the evening after David Mead dropped a high ball on his 15 metre line sending Damien Cook flying over for a four-pointer and his first 2017 try. Cody Walker’s assistance in the try brought him into the overall lead for the highest try assist tally across the NRL with a total of nine. Bryson Goodwin nailed the conversion and the Rabbitohs started off with an early six point lead.
The Rabbitohs were quick to get back over the line in Walker but an offside call for a no try brought the play back up the field.
The Broncos had a chance in the 14th minute when Corey Oates broke through the Rabbitohs defensive line and with a leap towards the corner post gave the Broncos their first try. A successful conversion by Anthony Milford levelled the playing field.
Goodwin took a shot at a penalty goal but kicked the ball dead resulting in a 20 metre Broncos restart. Moments later the Rabbitohs decided to have another crack at the goal posts this time slotting the ball through the uprights and bringing the home side into the lead.
The Broncos mirrored their first try and scored for the second time in the far left corner. The conversion attempt fell just short and hit the cross bar but the Broncos led by a small margin 10 points to 8.
Their lead was shortly extended when Korbin Sims picked up a loose kick and travelling over the try line. Despite going to the NRL Bunker for an offside question mark, a play at the ball by John Sutton resulting in gaining no possession made Sims onside as he was outside of 10 metres. Milford kicked the conversion from right in front of goals and the Broncos led 16 points to 8.
A penalty conceded by the Rabbitohs from a high tackle gave the Broncos a shot at a penalty goal that the Broncos kicked straight through, landing two more points to the board. The Rabbitohs had some catching up to do in the second half falling behind eight points to 18 at the half time siren.
The second half saw the Rabbitohs gain more possession after totalling 35% in the first half.
The left corner on the northern end of the field attracted the tries for the night but this time in favour of the home team. Robert Jennings flew over to score the Rabbitohs second try. Goodwin’s conversion kick swayed too far to the right but the Rabbitohs narrowed in on the Broncos 18 to 12 point lead.
Another four-pointer was added to the red and green side when Robbie Farah passed off a clean ball from dummy half into the path of Angus Crichton who powered the opposite direction and over the try line. Goodwin made the try sweeter slotting the ball through the uprights and the Rabbitohs levelled the scoreboard 18 points all.
Under five minutes later and in the 60th minute, Siosifa Talakai bolstered through the Broncos strong defence to slam the ball down for the Rabbitohs fourth try for the night. Despite the absence of Reynolds, Goodwin stepped up once again and added an extra two points and the Rabbitohs took the lead 24 points to 18.
In the 63rd minute, Cam Murray took the field for the first time in his NRL career debuting in front of friends and family entertaining the home crowd with a powerful first tackle.
The Broncos were the next to make it over the line but a call to the Bunker resulted in a no try call due to the player losing control of the ball.
Another call to the Bunker was made for a Rabbitohs attempt again at the magnetic left side corner but a no try call was made for tackling a player without the ball.
An unlucky attempt by Alex Johnston at catching a grubber saw the Broncos gain another set deep in Rabbitohs territory. The Broncos used the advantage and claimed a fourth try with Milford stepping up to level the scores. A successful attempt resulted in each team having 24 points on the board with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The intensity of the last minutes on the clock got to both sides with both Walker and Milford missing field goal attempts. The time was ticking away with each team trying to get down the field for another shot at the inside of the goal posts. The Broncos would come out on top kicking a successful field goal with three minutes remaining ending the close encounter 25 points to 24.
The Rabbitohs side donned a special ‘camouflage’ jersey commemorating the ANZAC Round and showing their gratitude to those men and women currently serving in the Australian Defence Force. Each jersey will be auctioned off through the Rabbitohs Online Megastore.
Brisbane Broncos 25 (Corey Oates 2, Korbin Sims, Tautau Moga tries; Anthony Milford 4 goals; Anthony Milford 1 field goal)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 (Damien Cook, Robert Jennings, Angus Crichton, Siosifa Talakai tries; Bryson Goodwin 4 goals)