The young Rabbitohs have fought out a tense and entertaining clash with the Sydney Roosters to draw the match 24-24 in a match that could have gone either way.
The Rabbitohs U20s squad travelled to Allianz Stadium to take on the 13th-placed Sydney Roosters - Ryan Carr’s men hoping to continue their purple patch that had seen them collect five wins and a draw in their last six fixtures.
The young Rabbitohs started brightly, targeting the Roosters right edge with good effect. However, two strong opportunities in the opening ten minutes went begging through handling errors.
Tyrone Taukamo almost grabbed opening points after a Dean Hawkins grubber caused chaos in the Roosters in-goal. The Rabbitohs failure to convert their early chances would come back to haunt them as the goal line dropout was re-gathered by the Roosters who marched up field to score through Jarred Anderson. Sean O’Sullivan failed to add the extras and the Roosters took the early lead 4-0 after 14 minutes.
It would take only sixty seconds for the Roosters to grab another try through Jesse Marschke after Sean O’Sullivan broke the line in the 15th minute. The Easts halfback would have no problem with the conversion this time and the Roosters would push out to a 10-0 advantage.
Souths would find themselves on the back foot for the next ten minutes as the Easts forward pack continued to dominate the middle of the park. Looking for a spark, the young Rabbitohs would find it in the form of centre Mawene Hiroti who would cross on the left edge in the 24th minute. Hawkins would add the extras and the Rabbitohs claw the score back to 10-6.
A brilliant try would follow in the 30th minute for the men in Red and Green. Beau Cordtz would slide into the attack on the left edge, grubber deep into the in-goal for Jalen Reweti, Reweti would knock the ball back into play for Cordtz who would recollect and score. Hawkins converted and the Rabbitohs grabbed a slim lead at 12-10.
Beau Cordtz would continue to prove dynamic in attack with his short kicking game, forcing the Roosters into a repeat set on the 38th minute to create a good chance before halftime. Unable to capitalise with their set of six, the Roosters would get the ball back and draw a penalty just before the buzzer – however, Sean O’Sullivan couldn’t get the distance with his kick to convert.
It was one way traffic in the opening ten minutes of the second half, with the Roosters seeing little ball and less time in our half of the field. However, the Rabbitohs couldn’t be clinical with all their field position and the Roosters grew back into the game.
Roosters big man Victor Radley would snatch the lead back for the home side, latching onto a Lachlan Lam grubber and crashing through to ground. O’Sullivan would continue his poor night on the boot and hit the uprights with his conversion attempt. Roosters 14 – 12 Souths after 52 minutes.
The Rabbitohs would snatch back the lead in the 60th minute through Jalen Reweti. The young winger would leap highest to claim a Dean Hawkins bomb on the Roosters line and score. Hawkins would convert and the Rabbitohs would lead 18-14.
Jordan Mailata would push Souths further ahead after taking a short ball fifteen metres out from Roosters line - the 150kg prop proving unstoppable as he crashed over the line to score. Hawkins converted again and the Rabbitohs took a firm handle on the game leading 24-14 with 16 minutes to go.
The Roosters would continue to take it to the young Rabbitohs, fighting for every metre of the Allianz Stadium turf. Their effort would be rewarded in the 75th minute as Adam Pompey got under a Sean O’Sullivan attacking bomb to score. O’Sullivan would miss the conversion. Souths 24-18 Roosters.
A left edge break by Bernard Lewis would lead to another Roosters try in the 78th minute after the Easts winger put in a nice kick for O’Sullivan to score. O’Sullivan slotted his conversion kick to tie things up.
Rabbitohs 24 (Mawene Hiroti, Beau Cordtz, Jalen Reweti, Jordan Mailata tries; Dean Hawkins 4 goals)
Roosters 24 (Jarred Anderson, Jesse Marschke, Victor Radley, Adam Pompey, Sean O’Sullivan tries; Sean O’Sullivan 2 goals)