The South Sydney Rabbitohs Canterbury Cup side have fallen 35-10 in their preliminary final against the Wentworthville Magpies in a disappointing end to their season.
With both sides filled to the brim with NRL talent, which included a last-minute inclusion of George Burgess for the Red and Green, it was a match with plenty of intrigue, however it would be the Magpies getting ahead to a 20-10 halftime lead to set up victory.
It was a fast start from the Magpies, who earned themselves a penalty in the ruck with plenty of fast play-the-balls and starting 25 metres out from the Rabbitohs' line.
The Red and Green were quick to repel their opponents, however a clever kick from dummy-half by Matt McIlwrick saw Kyle Turner dive on the ball behind the line.
A shallow dropout from the Rabbitohs saw Wentworthville back on the attack, however play was halted for a number of minutes as Bayley Sironen succumbed to a HIA.
An early kick from the Magpies behind the line saw fullback Josh Hoffman collect the ball and score under the posts after a cruel bounce went against the Rabbitohs. The conversion from in front then saw Wentworthville lead 6-nil after seven minutes.
A great take from Mawene Hiroti under the high ball saw the Rabbitohs back in the contest, however a clumsy head-high tackle gave the Magpies another chance to hit back.
The ill-discipline from the men in Cardinal and Myrtle then saw their opponents opt to kick a penalty goal after a leg pull, furthering their lead after ten minutes.
A contentious play-on call after a suspected knock-on from the kick-off allowed Wentworthville to carry on with their momentum, but again it was Hiroti who diffused a bomb and streaked 20 metres away to put his side on the front-foot.
Things continued from bad to worse for the Rabbitohs, with a Corey Allan error in the play-the-ball giving Wentworthville possession 20 metres out, with a defensive effort from Leigh Higgins holding his opposition winger up over the line.
However it was another kick and another error gifting Wentworthville yet another try, with a grubber going past Allan and being picked off by the black and white, extending their lead to fourteen.
The bounce of the ball finally went to the Rabbitohs, with a Connor Tracey kick deflecting off a Magpie and going into touch, giving the side the head and feed on halfway.
The added territory then saw Billy Brittain grubber through for Kyle Turner to touch down just as the ball looked to be going out, giving the side a much-needed boost after a dire quarter. With Hiroti's kick, the Rabbitohs were back within eight points.
Both sides continued to show their class, with the Magpies pinning the Rabbitohs back with kicks while the Red and Green looked to open the defence up with early shifts out wide.
Kicks continued to hurt the Rabbitohs, with another low kick touching Hiroti's hands and going out, giving the Magpies yet another feed in front of the sticks, with a trick play from the scrum seeing Matt McIlwrick cross over. With the successful conversion, it was back to a a 14-point deficit for the Rabbitohs.
Needing a spark with not long left in the half, a high kick from the Red and Green saw winger and fullback cough up the ball back to the Rabbitohs. On the ensuing set the left side clicked into gear with Connor Tracey and Levi Dodd quickly putting Hiroti over in the corner. The winger would miss the sideline conversion, leaving the scores at 20-10 with five left in the half.
With an added confidence came steel in the Souths' defence, as well as some adventurous ball-playing, however yet another unforgiving error in the Rabbitohs' half saw the Magpies with another opportunity, but the side's defensive efforts were able to prevent any further scoring before the break.
A great kick from the first set saw the Rabbitohs nearly touch down Connor Tracey knocked on in the in-goal, but an offside call on Dean Britt saw Wentworthville back on the attack.
With more kicks from the Magpies putting pressure on the Rabbitohs, a Corey Allan dive in the in-goal saw the Red and Green drop out, with further pressure seeing Jaemon Salmon dive over from dummy half in an easy effort.
An offside penalty just before halfway gave the Rabbitohs a sniff, however a risky pass from Jaydn Su'A saw the Steeden lost forward, and more ill discipline on the other side of the field saw the Magpies extend their lead through a penalty goal.
But the Rabbitohs would fail to lay down, with a strong break from Mawene Hiroti setting the side up for a chance to score, and with a penalty for a high tackle on Leigh Higgins soon after, the Red and Green were starting to swing momentum their way.
Another chance for Tracey went begging as the bounce of the ball went away from the five-eighth once more, careening straight for a high kick that beat him to the dead-ball line.
The go-forward from the Magpies proved to be overwhelming for the Rabbitohs, however a strong defensive set prevented their opponents from scoring, with a head-high tackle on Hawkins putting the side into enemy territory.
George Burgess looked to stamp his mark, however a dropped ball over the line was the tale of the tape for the afternoon.
Further errors continued to cruel the side, with a kick from the scrum seeing a footrace between Hiroti and Hoffman, with the Wentworthville Magpies fullback reaching the ball first.
A missed penalty goal then saw the Rabbitohs kick a 20 metre dropout, only for the Magpies to reply with a long-range effort, with a late field goal added with just minutes to go.
Wentworthville Magpies 35 (Josh Hoffman, Andrew Davey, Matt McIlwrick, Jaemon Salmon, Haze Dunster tries; Rhys Davies 5 goals; Rhys Davies 2 penalty goals; Rhys Davies penalty goal)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 (Kyle Turner, Mawene Hiroti tries; Mawene Hiroti goals)