The Wild Wild West

They say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. In 2011 however, the South Sydney Rabbitohs led the Brisbane Broncos to a water-logged nib Stadium and recorded a famous win. 

By Round 16, the Red and Green were struggling to keep in touch with the top eight, and after snapping a three-game losing streak the week before, had to overcome a high-flying Broncos outfit in Perth. 

Affected by torrential rain throughout the week, the NiB stadium turf had turned into a quagmire filled with pools of water scattered across the field.

The conditions would immediately work in their favour, however, a Dale Copley error just one minute into the contest saw Chris McQueen splash (yes, splash) over next to the sticks to give the Red and Green a 6-nil lead.

Just five minutes later, the Rabbitohs were over again in what commentator Andrew Voss described as "One of the more incredible tries you will see". 

On fourth tackle and ten metres out from the line, halfback Chris Sandow punted the ball into the in-goal, which miraculously landed in a puddle, stopping dead in its tracks. Fullback Rhys Wesser pounced on the ball, beating everyone in the contest to bring the lead to 12-nil. 

The Broncos hit back in the 13th minute with a try to Jack Reed, but a penalty goal to Sandow saw the Rabbitohs lead 14-6 at the break in a close first half.

The second stanza was even closer as both sides continued to nullify each other in a brutal match, which saw a Greg Inglis bust result in Issac Luke going oh so close to scoring, only for the referee to say he was held up.

Brisbane managed to score the first try after the break as Kurt Baptiste fell over the line to close the deficit to two, but the tenacious South Sydney defence prevented them from making any more inroads.

A desperate team effort saw Reed dragged into touch just metres from the try line, and a last-gasp play at the ball from Nathan Merritt prevented Gerard Beale from going over.

More urgency was shown by the Red and Green in the last ten minutes as Inglis cut off a Broncos attacking play close to the line before Sandow saved the day by batting a grubber kick out of the in-goal by mere centimetres.

The Rabbitohs survived the onslaught as the livewire halfback kicked a penalty goal on fulltime to seal a 16-12 victory, with coach John Lang and hooker Issac Luke sliding across the field in celebration.

In his side's famous victory, Lang praised the defensive tenacity his players displayed throughout the match in a post-match interview.

"That's the best win we've had since I've been here," Lang said.

"I thought we were clearly the better team. I'm absolutely rapt with our first half performance. We played as a team and played for each other."

"Our season changed seven weeks ago against the Sharks when we brought all the young boys in and they showed that true South Sydney spirit. The boys just kept going tonight."

 

Match report supplied by Michael Curin

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The South Sydney Rabbitohs overcame a spirited Brisbane Broncos fightback to win by 16-12 in driving rain at a wet and windy nib Stadium in Perth. Both sides endured the most extraordinary weather conditions of the season as fierce winds and torrential rain lashed across the stadium. The storm hit less than an hour before kick-off and left expanses of water on the playing surface that provided a major challenge for both teams.

It was the Rabbitohs who came to terms with the conditions first, controlling their opening possession superbly and forcing an error from the Broncos. They opened the scoring within 90 seconds from the start when second-rower Chris McQueen gained possession from a Dane Copley's turnover from the kick-off as the Broncos struggled to adapt to the slippery conditions early. South Sydney's second try, which stretched the lead to 12-0 only five minutes later, came when fullback Rhys Wesser beat Jack Reed to the ball and touch down to score a try unlike any other in his 14-year career after a Chris Sandow grubber-kick stopped stone dead in a pool of water. Sandow unleashed a forceful low-trajectory kick that in any other conditions would have rolled past the dead ball line, but the ball stopped dead in its tracks once it hit a giant puddle.

The Broncos needed something special to get back in the game, and centre Jack Reed delivered when he rose high to grab Darren Lockyer's chip from the grasp of Sandow, closing the margin back to six points. Even the ever-reliable Lockyer wasn't immune from the conditions, dropping a kick-return cold just 10 metres from his tryline. The Rabbitohs couldn't capitalise on the excellent field position, but Sandow slotted a penalty just before half-time to give Souths a handy 14-6 lead at the break.

The Rabbitohs looked dead on their feet for much of the second half as the Broncos pushed hard for victory. Brisbane close the gap to just two points when hooker Burt Baptiste touched down in the 59th minute, but with Souths struggling to get out of their own half in the final 10 minutes, it just seemed a matter of time before their defence would crack. However, the Broncos couldn't find the killer blow, with Souths holding firm to secure their sixth win of the season, lifting them to equal on points with seventh-placed Wests Tigers.

A lifting tackle by Rabbitoh Dave Taylor on Brisbane prop Scott Anderson attracted a five-match suspension and cost the 22-year-old a place in Queensland's team for the State of Origin decider.
Despite the wretched conditions, more than 15,000 fans still rocked up to the game, sending the NRL a powerful message that West Australians were hungry for a Perth-based side to get back into the NRL premiership.

 

South Sydney 16 (C.McQueen, R.Wesser tries; C.Sandow 4 goals)

defeated

Brisbane 12 (J.Reed, K.Baptiste tries; C.Parker 2 goals)

 

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