The hit of the decade

‘Stop the fight!’ cried ‘Gus’ Gould in Round 12 of 2010. Sam Burgess and Ben Lowe had laid out Penrith’s Matthew Bell in what the future General Manager of the Panthers would later describe as ‘the brute, big hit of the decade’.

Penrith were flying high at the time of impact, second on the NRL ladder, whilst Souths were in a strong patch of form as they came into the contest in fifth place. Only two points separated the teams on the table while the match was tied at 6-6 after 22 minutes.

But that infamous hit would rattle the visiting Penrith team and send Gus and his co-commentator, Ray Warren, into raptures during the broadcast.

“That there, is the brute, big hit of the decade… Look at this. He looks like a crash test dummy!” declared Gus.

“Burgess has hit him with everything including his birth certificate!” yelled Ray Warren.

That Sunday afternoon, Souths decided that they wouldn’t be bullied by the better-resourced Penrith squad and they continued to hammer the visitors.

Lowe crossed two minutes after the calamity, only to be denied by the video referee. John Sutton, Issac Luke and Rhys Wesser would each score before half time with Wesser bagging his second just after the restart.

Penrith would show their class to bring the score to 30-22 by the 64th minute through tries to Lachlan Coote, twice, and Gavin Cooper, but Chris Sandow and Beau Champion both scored late to seal a 42-22 Rabbitohs win.

Rabbitohs Coach John Lang and Captain Roy Asotasi described it, on the day, in a way that can aptly be used to describe the last ten years of our rivalry with Penrith.

However, the catalyst for the win can be traced back to that ‘Hit of the Decade’ from Burgess and Lowe that firmly swung the match in the Rabbitohs favour.

“We played strongly today and we knew we had to go out there and meet them. We played well but there’s patches in the second half we have to improve on,” said Asotasi.

Lang said: “We weren’t really home at any stage until right at the end.”

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