The South Sydney Rabbitohs Jersey Flegg side have come away with the two points in a 36-32 victory against the Parramatta Eels in their Round 18 match at the Metricon High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval.
A monster effort from lock forward Ky Rodwell saw the Rabbitohs get on top of their opponents in a game where the momentum swung several times, despite the Rabbitohs leading throughout.
The Red and Green received some early possession after the Eels knocked on coming out of their own end. They were able to trouble the scorers first with a try to hooker and NRL squad member Josh Cook, who barged over from dummy half close to the line in just the 7th minute.
Two penalties in a row saw Souths get even more possession on the Eels’ line and they were able to capitalise in the 13th minute, this time through another NRL squad member Ky Rodwell, who crashed over the line running off a Cook pass.
Things went from bad to worse for the Eels, who kicked off out on the full. This saw Cook and Rodwell attempt to wreak even more havoc on the Eels close to the line, with Rodwell pouncing on a Cook grubber in the ingoal, although he was eventually ruled offside by the officials.
Five-eighth Blake Taaffe was next to score for the Rabbitohs, running 50m to the posts after bench forward Joshua Fepuleai put him through a gap with a beautiful short ball, giving Souths an 18-0 lead after 23 minutes.
Match: Rabbitohs v Eels
Round 18 -
Venue: Metricon High Performance Centre, Sydney
Unfortunately for the Rabbitohs, a quick flurry of tries to the Eels, including a scintillating solo effort from halfback Bailey Biondi-Odo in the 27th minute saw them get back into the game, the Rabbitohs taking a slender 18-16 lead into the break.
The home side started the second half with a bang, scoring in just the first set of the half to extend their lead. A right shift early in the set saw centre Nick Mougios in the clear, showing plenty of composure as he approached the Eels’ fullback, drawing and passing to Peter Mamouzelos on his inside to score under the posts.
Souths were looking dangerous through the middle, with a Mamouzelos break putting them on the front foot. Halfback Lachlan Ilias then took initiative on the next play, and put fullback James Tautaiolefua over to score and extending the lead to 30-16.
The Eels hit back in the 49th minute with a try to right winger JT Nabetelevu, who made a great grab in the air and planted the ball down in the corner. The try was unconverted, leaving the scores at 30-20 with 20 minutes left on the clock.
The Rabbitohs invited the Eels down to their end on the ensuing kick off after they kicked out on the full. They capitalised almost straight away as Biondi-Odo put his fullback Sione Fonua through a huge gap to score his second try of the game. The converted try then saw Eels trail by just 4 points.
After a fairly even period in which neither side was able to capitalise on the other’s mistakes, it was the Rabbitohs who extended their lead to 10 in the 60th minute, with Rodwell scoring his second try of the game, crashing over next to the posts after some soft defence from the Eels.
The Eels were desperate to get back in the match, and nearly did as left-winger Solomone Naiduki stampeded towards the corner. However, a great try-saving effort from James Tautaiolefua saw him come up short, dropping the ball over the line while attempting to score.
A tense final few minutes saw tempers flare with just over two minutes from the end, resulting in Aidan Manowski and Bailey Biondi-Odo being sin binned, as well as Josh Cook being sent off as the two sides came together.
The Eels were able to capitalise on having an extra player on the field, scoring a consolation try through five-eighth Joseph Taipari. He converted his try from next to the posts, however, it was the Rabbitohs who came away with the points in the end, outlasting the Eels in a 36-32 victory.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 (Ky Rodwell 2, Josh Cook, Blake Taaffe, Peter Mamouzelos, James Tautaiolefua tries; Blake Taaffe 6 goals)
Parramatta Eels 32 (Bailey Biondi-Odo 2, Sione Fonua 2, Turaganivalu Nebetelevu, Joseph Taipari tries; Bailey Biondi-Odo 3, Joseph Taipari goals)