Rabbitohs locked in thrilling draw with Brothers Penrith
The South Sydney Rabbitohs women's team have been held to the draw at ANZ Stadium against Brothers Penrith but still extended their undefeated run in 2018 to seven games.
Playing on Mother's Day and Indigenous Round, it was a special occasion for many of the players and it was clear see what the day meant to the players as both teams put in a strong 60-minute performance.
The Red and Green opened the scoring through outside back Taleena Simon, who ran onto a perfectly weighted kick from halfback Maddie Studdon.
Running round to improve the positioning of the conversion, Simon set up her halfback with an easy kick attempt, giving the Rabbitohs a 6-0 lead after just three minutes.
However, South Sydney's lead was immediately reduced as Penrith Brothers wrestled their way back into the contest.
After a dropped ball from Rabbitohs winger Ianeta Baker, Brothers Penrith took advantage of good attacking field position, sweeping the ball from left to right to open up the space for centre Lalovi Lealaiauloto for an easy put down in the corner.
The conversion was unsuccessful from out wide by Penrith Brothers halfback Ashlee Harrison, leaving the Rabbitohs with a slender 6-4 lead with 10 minutes gone.
Struggling to assert dominance on Brothers Penrith, the Rabbitohs needed something special to get back on the front foot and it was again Simon that provided that spark.
Splitting the defence with a deadly footwork, Simon then ran 40 metres untouched to score under the posts for another Rabbitohs four-pointer.
Studdon once again had a simple task from right in front, extending her side's lead to 12-4. The Rabbitohs looked to build upon their eight-point lead but struggled to find the consistency they needed and in the end, it was Brothers Penrith who was next to score, capitalising on some Rabbitohs ill-discipline.
Producing another strong sweeping backline move, Brothers Penrith opened up South Sydney's edge defence allowing fullback Anneliese Hughes to crash over in the corner.
The conversion was unsuccessful again from out wide leaving the Rabbitohs with a 12-8 lead at half-time. The Rabbitohs would start the second half like the first with the reliable boot of Studdon providing Nakia Davis-Welsh her first try of the match.
Taking the line on, Studdon produced a deft in field kick, which Davis-Welsh caught on the fly before planting the ball down next to the posts. Studdon added the extras to take the Rabbitohs lead out 18-8 in the 35th minute.
However, the Rabbitohs were still unable to post back-to-back tries, allowing Penrith Brothers back into the match. Again, the side from the Mountains spread the ball wide attempting to catch the Rabbitohs short on their edges.
It took some muscle and a slick offload to get them their but the women in the blue finally scored through Sarah Togatuki. The conversion attempt was again unsuccessful with the Rabbitohs now holding an 18-12 lead with 15 minutes to go.
The Penrith Brothers then took a the game up to the next level and continually bombarded the Rabbitohs line only to come up short. However, their persistence finally paid off a with five minutes to go as second rower Christine Pauli rose high to catch a cross-field chip kick to score.
For the first time in the match, halfback Harrison slotted her conversion to level the match at 18-18. With just a few minutes to play both sides had a chance to win it.
First were the Rabbitohs who had good attacking field position to grab a last-minute winner but Davis-Welsh could not add the finishing touch. Finally, Brothers Penrith's were given an on the buzzer penalty from out wide to the win the match. The conversion was hooked wide, with match ending in a draw.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Taleena Simon 2, Nakia Davis-Welsh tries; Maddie Studdon 3 goals
Brothers Penrith 18
Lalovi Lealaiauloto, Sarah Togatuki, Christine Pauli, Anneliese Hughes tries; Ashlee Harrison goal