It was a tough loss to take at Bankwest Stadium, but our young troops did us proud against an unaffected Eels side.
Here are my Five Takeaways.
Young Guns Impress
Despite the loss, it was great to see some of our up and coming talent get their chance to impress.
And our debutants didn’t shirk from their first NRL match, with Billy Brittain making a team-high 50 tackles and setting up Thomas Burgess for a try, while Connor Tracey ran for an incredible 205 metres and making 15 tackle breaks in the process.
Adam Doueihi was also solid in his first game back from an ACL injury and combined well with fellow youngster Mawene Hiroti on the left edge.
Fullback Corey Allan was unfazed at the back, continually taking catch after catch despite the Eels’ best attempts to force errors, while Dean Britt played his best first-grade game to date.
With more troops set to return in the coming weeks, it’s great to see the future of the Club get their chance to show what they’ve got - and they showed plenty of upside despite the loss.
Not Bad Bankwest, Not Bad
I don’t think I was the only person at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night that was thoroughly impressed with what it had to offer.
The cacophony produced from the 21,00 strong crowd - coupled with the enclosed structure of the stadium - brought an incredible atmosphere to the match, adding a welcomed spice and intensity.
Fellow Rabbitohs staff were also impressed with the facilities on a pre-game tour, and with ANZ Stadium looking to be renovated in the coming eighteen months, it has my vote to host future NRL matches.
Unfortunately, it was just one of those games where we made too many errors in critical moments of the match.
A loose pass close to the line early on squandered a chance to capitalise on the weight of possession, and with some feeble defensive attempts, it put the full-strength Eels in the box-seat to win. Despite making more errors (7 to 5) and giving away more penalties (6 to 3), Parramatta were the ones who lead at halftime 14 to 2, with the new-look Rabbitohs unable to score a try in the first 40.
And although it was a much-improved second-half display, it goes to show just how important each set of Rugby League match is. If there’s one silver lining though, it was a good lesson for the side, particularly for the younger contingent.
Britt Brings Impact from Bench
One of the unsung heroes of the night was bench forward Dean Britt.
In one of his best performances in first-grade to date, the 25-year-old made 123 metres (63 of them being post-contact), broke four tackles and made 35 tackles in just 52 minutes on the field.
It was a great showing from Britt, who challenged the Eels’ defence with every carry of the ball and his impact from the bench helped the side to
Having starred for the Canterbury Cup side this season on a number of occasions, Britt’s performance goes to show how well the vertically aligned pathways system is working for the Club at the moment.
Time to Move Forward
It’ll be a belter of a match next Friday night at ANZ Stadium against the high-flying Newcastle Knights.
With the side looking to be bolstered by the inclusion of a number of players - most notably the returning James Roberts - we’ll be looking to bounce back and get back in the winner’s circle.
Sure, it wasn’t the result we were after, but we still sit in a very good position close to the half-way point of the season.
Big things are to come for this Rabbitohs side - and I can’t wait.