It was a big week for the South Sydney Rabbitohs' Pathways Teams as the Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams completed the fourth round of their seasons, while the Jersey Flegg and ISP sides rounded off their pre-season with the final trials before their season proper.
Harold Matthews (under 16s)
The Harold Matthews side continues to impress, winning four out of four matches and sitting second on the ladder after defeating the Central Coast Roosters 40-8 in a dominant display.
An early first-half blitz saw the under 16s score five tries in the first 21 minutes to lead 28-4, before a quieter second half saw them score another two.
Fullback Joseph Suaalii scored four tries, with halfback Joseph Nohra kicking 6/7 goals in the dominant 32-point victory, who now sit just behind Newcastle Knights on points difference.
The Harold Matthews side will take on the fourth-placed Parramatta Eels at the Metricon High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval this Saturday 9 March at 10:00am.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 40 (Joseph Suaalii 4, Carson Kaho, Dranza Haw-De-Thierry, Luca Ace-Nasteski tries; Joseph Nohra 6 goals)
Central Coast Roosters 8 (Wiremu Tibbutt, Tyler Moriarty tries)
SG Ball (under 18s)
It was another unfortunate loss for the SG Ball under 18s as they fell 24-14 to the Central Coast Roosters just after the Harold Matthews’ victory.
Much like their third-round loss to the Panthers, the Rabbitohs put in a gallant effort against the Roosters, creating chances to put themselves in a winning position, but failed to get the two points despite a late rally in the second half.
Coming out of the second half down 22-6, tries to Zane Bijorac and Byron Parnell in a ten-minute period looked to give them a glimmer of hope before two sin-binnings deflated all the momentum.
A last-minute penalty goal sealed their fate, and they will be looking to bounce back against Parramatta this Saturday at the Metricon High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval at 11:30am.
Central Coast Roosters 24 (Sandon Smith, Luke Knight, Jerry Ratabua, Jack Taylor tries; Reece Piepers 3 goals)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 14 (Langi Gleeson, Zane Bijorac, Byron Parnell tries; Bradley Zampech goal)
Jersey Flegg (under 20s)
On Sunday afternoon the Jersey Flegg (20s) and ISP sides hosted St. George Illawarra Dragons at Erskineville Oval for their final trial matches before the season proper.
Jersey Flegg Head Coach Ben Rogers said his side took plenty of lessons from the loss to the Dragons.
“It was a tough day in the office. We dropped a lot of ball and probably only completed in the low 30% in the first half,” he explained.
“We were down 14-6, but Dragons were too good as we continued to drop the ball, give away penalties and miss some non-negotiable tackles.
“Matt French scored just before half time, he pushed up on the inside, beat a couple of defenders and then the fullback to spin around and score.
“Jack Frasca was busy and made a break to send Kane Allan for a try just after the break, and then scored one himself near the end of the second half with an 80 metre effort.”
The Jersey Flegg side will kick off their season against the Dragons on Saturday 23 March at 12:15pm at the Metricon High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval.
St. George Illawarra Dragons 36
South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 (Matt French, Kane Allan, Jack Frasca tries; Marc Zaurrini goals)
Similarly, the Dragons proved too good for the ISP side, going down despite a strong effort.
It was a tough match for the ISP players, with the Dragons fielding a number of first-graders and players who participated in the Charity Shield the night before, including Jai Field, Korbin Sims and Reece Robson.
The young Rabbitohs initially struggled before mounting a fight back, with explosive forward Keaon Koloamatangi getting on the board before their opponents eventually got over the top in the end.
The 2019 ISP Draw will be released in the coming week, with a number of exciting match-ups at the Metricon High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval.
St. George Illawarra Dragons 56
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (Keaon Koloamatangi try; Luke Walmsley goal)