Rabbitohs Canterbury Cup side hold off Warriors to claim close victory

The South Sydney Rabbitohs Canterbury Cup side have claimed a tense 32-30 victory against the New Zealand Warriors in their Round 21 clash at Central Coast Stadium.

Backrower Jaydn Su'A was instrumental in the victory, setting up two tries in the second half while front rower Tom Amone scored a decisive double. 

A number of changes were made before kick-off, with Leigh Higgins filling in at fullback with Corey Allan promoted to the first-grade side, and winger and Pio Nakubuwai making his first appearance for the Red and Green.

It was a rusty start for the Rabbitohs, with a number of wayward kicks giving their opponents early possession with a touch from the Rabbitohs 20 out from the line, followed by a penalty, setting the Warriors up to score the first try of the match through Sam Lisone.

But a kick out on the full from the Warriors gave the Rabbitohs some breathing room, and after a penalty in the ruck soon after saw them within striking distance, big prop Tom Amone brushed past defenders with ease to score. Mawene Hiroti's missed conversion saw the side trail by two after ten minutes. 

The try then gave the Rabbitohs a shot of confidence, stretching out the Warriors' defence with some slick passing, before holding out their attacking raids in a strong defensive set.

But it was ill-discipline that cost the side with a penalty giving the Warriors a chance to double their lead in a similar try to Josh Curran.

But the Rabbitohs were quick to hit back as Connor Tracey sliced through the line to score next to the posts. 

A number of offloads from Jacob Gagan and Mawene Hiroti on the left saw the side make their way downfield, with a number of Tracey grubbers keeping the Warriors at bay. 

After a ten minute period where neither side could gain ascendency, the Rabbitohs took the lead for the first time with a try out of the blue to Higgins, who scored a long-range effort to touch down in the corner. 

And the Rabbitohs were truly back in the swing of things as Tracey intercepted a kick to streak 60 metres downfield, with a punt seeing his halves partner Blake Taaffe go downfield only to be tackled before the line.

With the Warriors holding on too long, a decisive penalty just before the break saw Lewis Soosemea sin binned, with Hiroti opting for goal on the stroke of halftime for a 16-12 lead. 

The Red and Green continued their dominance early in the second half, forcing a dropout and looking likely to get a second before the sides came together in disagreement, with the Warriors given a seven-tackle set.

Ill-discipline would cruel the Rabbitohs, who failed to take advantage of the one-man advantage as the Warriors wound the clock down with Taane Milne kicking a penalty goal to close the gap to two points. 

After a restricted first ten minutes after the break, the Rabbitohs finally got into gear as Levi Dodd crossed on a fifth tackle play courtesy of Jaydn Su'A.  

Su'A would then set up his second try of the match, making a break to put Blake Taaffe close to the line, before the backrower flicked the ball to new Rabbitoh Pio Nakubuwai to score in the corner.  

But the Warriors weren't done yet, with fullback Paul Turner breaking the line to streak away, and a try just after saw the chance to level before the conversion was missed.

Despite the Warriors having the ball in hand, a penalty to the Rabbitohs in the ruck on halfway opened another chance to score, with Tom Amone bagging his double in a barnstorming effort. 

Their opponents failed to lay down, however, with a try less than five minutes left seeing them down by two points.

With a drop-out and just over a minute to go, the Rabbitohs were on the backfoot, a tackle from Hiroti on the last play forced an error from the Warriors and keeping the side on the top of the Canterbury Cup ladder.

 

South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 (Tom Amone 2, Connor Tracey, Leigh Higgins, Levi Dodd, Pio Nakubuwai tries; Mawene Hiroti 3 goals, Mawene Hiroti penalty goal)

def

New Zealand Warriors 30 (Sam Lisone, Josh Curran, Paul Turner, Patrick Herbertt, Setu Tu tries; Taane Milne 4 goals, Taane Milne penalty goal)

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