Rabbitohs Canterbury Cup overcome Wests to claim inaugural Kelly-Sattler Cup

The South Sydney Rabbitohs Canterbury Cup side have come away with a 34-16 victory against the Western Suburbs Magpies in the second leg of the Kelly-Sattler Cup at Campbelltown Sports Stadium. 

It was a classic match of football at Campbelltown, with both sides throwing everything they had at each other in the early stages, with Wests taking the first win by forcing a dropout.

But little did they know that the adventurous Rabbitohs would turn a bad situation into a good one, with Shane Millard's short dropout tactic reaping the rewards as the Red and Green regathered possession.

Adam Doueihi, making his Canterbury Cup debut, controlled the match at five-eighth, firstly by putting in an attacking grubber to force an error from the Magpies, then by setting up the opening try of the match by sending over Jack Johns over the line with a  beautiful short ball. With Mawene Hiroti's conversion successful, the Rabbitohs held a 6-nil lead after five minutes.

Doueihi continued to control the side alongside hooker Billy Brittain and halfback Connor Tracey, with the trio combining up the middle to split their opponents up on the next set - but the sequence would see the Rabbitohs lose possession after a lost ball.

Errors would then cruel the chances of both sides throughout a dire period in the first half, before Jacob Gagan took a bomb in the in goal to give his side a seven-tackle set, then taking a quick tap to get the Red and Green on the front-foot. 

An ensuing penalty for a high tackle on the centre then saw the Rabbitohs deep inside Magpies territory and a well-executed right-side shift saw fullback Leigh Higgins double the side's lead. 

And the Red and Green looked to be in once again, with Gagan making a bust on the left-side, only for a desperate behind the back flick pass being intercepted by their opponents. Red and Green continued to gain the ascendency, with Higgins and Jaxson Paulo making half breaks before getting caught in desperate tackles.

Despite the Rabbitohs chancing their arm with the ball in hand, it was Wests who would score next in the corner, with an overlap giving them space to get on the board after 33 minutes. 

The final ten minutes of the first half saw a number of adventurous plays, with both sides eager to take home the Kelly-Sattler Cup, but it was the Rabbitohs who held a 12-4 advantage. 

But the Magpies would go back to back with a last-tackle play by the Rabbitohs intercepted, and with the added possession it would be the home side who bridged the gap to two points. 

Things got bad to worse for the Red and Green, with Brock Gray conceding a penalty then getting sent to the sin bin by impeding a player taking a quick tap.

With South Sydney a man down, the Magpies would then take the lead for the first time in the match, with a ricocheted grubber kick giving them two back-to-back sets resulting in a try under the posts to Braden Robson.

With Wests in control, it seemed like nothing the Rabbitohs could do would benefit their chances, with Connor Tracey picking up an attacking bomb only for the ball to be lost on the next set.

But just as the situation began to look dire, an obstruction penalty brought the Red and Green back in the contest, with a forced dropout giving them a momentum swing. 

Further possession was earned through a Wests penalty, and it was jubilation for the Red and Green faithful who made the road trip out west, with the added possession giving former Magpie Bayley Sironen a chance to stretch over and score.

Mawene Hiroti's conversion saw the Red and Green take the lead once again with just over a quarter of the match remaining. 

The Red and Green and black and white continued to clash, with both sides throwing everything in their arsenals to claim victory, it was the home side who were a little too enthusiastic, with a late shot on fullback Leigh Higgins, and backchat to the ref seeing the Rabbitohs go sixty metres just from kicks for touch.

With that added possession, a left-side shift saw Higgins send over his winger Dylan O'Connor with a well-timed offload, crossing in the corner in an acrobatic effort. 

Hiroti put in a clutch performance with the boot, slicing the sideline conversion to give his side an all-important six-point lead. 

In unfortunate circumstances, an error from the kick-off, coupled with a penalty and a strip call going against Hiroti gave the Magpies three back-to-back sets.

But thankfully for the Rabbitohs, the sides would then exchange errors, with the Rabbitohs eventually ending up with the ball after an error-riddled five minutes.

With the ball back in hand, Billy Brittain took the game by the scruff of the neck, sending front rower Ky Rodwell over the line with a well-timed pass from the ruck. 

Not content with just the two points, the Rabbitohs opted to tap instead of going for goal after a penalty in front, and it was front rower Tom Amone who sent his halfback Connor Tracey over for the try that sealed the first-ever Kelly-Sattler Cup.

 

South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 (Jack Johns, Leigh Higgins, Bayley Sironen, Dylan O'Connor, Ky Rodwell tries, Connor Tracey; Mawene Hiroti 5 goals)

Western Suburbs Magpies 16 (Tommy Talau, Bilaal Marbaani tries; Jock Madden 2 goals) 

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