The Young Rabbitohs have got back to winning ways after a comprehensive 46-16 defeat of the Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium for Round 21 of the NYC Competition.
Playing at ANZ Stadium for the first time in two weeks, the young Rabbitohs were looking to get back into the winners circle after their loss against the Sharks last Friday.
Their opponents, the Canberra Raiders,came into the match sitting in a similar position on the ladder and vying for a finals spot.
The Rabbitohs kicked off proceedings with some strong defence forcing an error on the halfway line after the first set of the game.
A penalty allowed them to make their way downfield, with an Adam Doueihi kick forcing the Raiders back behind their try line.
A quick play the ball let fullback Beau Cordtz send winger Jalen Reweti to score on the left edge in the 7th minute of play for the first try of the match.
The committed defence continued to pin the Raiders in their own half and Reweti was in again after an almost identical sweep with Adam Doueihi converting. The score sat at 12-0 after just 14 minutes.
Doueihi’s pinpoint kicking would prove to be a great asset, continually putting Canberra on the back foot.
An error by dynamic fullback Beau Cordtz would hand a golden opportunity to the Raiders in the 19th minute, however the tough defence would return serve and force an error from the Raiders, again coming from the left edge.
Reweti was nearly in for his third of the day, however Doueihi’s kick was just too long, however clumsiness with the ball would give the Rabbitohs the ball again. Strong defence from the Raiders would force the Bunnies out into touch.
More strong runs from forwards Talakai and lock Gabe Hamlin further asserted the Bunnies’ dominance, which paid off with a try to Sam Johnstone with just under ten minutes to go in the first half.
More ill-discipline by the Raiders only helped the Rabbitohs cause, and they were almost in again with Talakai being stopped just short from the line.
An unlucky touch off a kick gave the Raiders six more tackles 30 metres out, and a few tackles later new recruit Erin Clark crashed over in the 36th minute from dummy half.
Poor communication and ill discipline nearly let the Raiders in again with a few minutes to go, however the brave Bunnies were able to hold on to a 12-point lead at halftime.
Doueihi would go from hero to villain with Raiders second rower Hudson Young scoring off an intercept pass just one minute into the second half.
The error fest continued with a huge hit by winger Tyrone Taukamo forcing a dropped ball, however the Rabbitohs forfeited possession with a drop ball of their own in the next set.
A break up the middle by captain Kalani Ili helped set up a try to promising centre Campbell Graham, thanks to some quick thinking by Talakai and Doueihi, however the try was unconverted.
The forwards regained their mojo with some strong running and bone crunching defence and continued to dominate, and a penalty on the halfway line in the 54th minute, and Adam Doueihi almost crashed over, however it was ruled an obstruction and a penalty was given to the Raiders.
Back to back penalties would allow the Raiders to chance their arm on the Rabbitohs line, however some try saving defence thanks to Cordtz.
A clever offload by interchange forward Jordan Mailata nearly sent Cordtz away, and a clever kick from halfback Dean Hawkins earned them a dropout.
The middle forwards continued to charge through, and their efforts would be rewarded with Dylan O’Connor crossing the line in the 59th minute off brilliant Hawkins pass. Doueihi would convert the try and give the Bunnies a 16 point lead with just under 20 minutes to go.
Another break by Hudson Young nearly saw the Raiders capitalise, however the resilient defence continued to impress.
The frustration of the Raiders would be on show with another penalty handing the Rabbitohs some much earned territory, and soon Mailata would score one of his trademark barge over tries under the posts in the 65th minute, and a Doueihi conversion putting the score beyond doubt.
Campbell Graham crashed over in the left hand corner just 3 minutes later thanks to an Adam Doueihi cutout pass.
A failed attempt at a short kick off went the way of the Rabbitohs, however the Raiders would score a late consolation try with 5 to go.
Despite having won the game, the job was far from done for the boys from Redfern with Gabe Hamlin streaking away from 40 metres out, sidestepping the fullback in the process.
Rabbitohs 46 (Jalen Reweti 2, Campbell Graham 2, Sam Johnstone, Dylan O’Connor, Jordan Mailata, Gabe Hamlin tries, Adam Doueihi 7 goals)
Raiders 16 (William Samuel, Hudson Young, Erin Clark tries; 2 Andre Niko goal)