No Wayne, no worries!
After South Sydney triumphed 28-10 over Brisbane without Wayne Bennett in the coach’s box, it could be argued that the absence of Broncos trainer Allan Langer may have had a greater impact on Friday night’s match at ANZ Stadium.
Bennett and Langer, who can usually be seen on field wearing the blue shirt for Brisbane, won four grand finals together at the Broncos but both were stood down from Friday night’s match after breaches of the NRL’s COVID-19 bio-security rules.
The bans denied Bennett the opportunity to celebrate a win over his former club after being forced out when Brisbane lured Anthony Seibold from Souths but Rabbitohs fans would have noticed little difference as halves Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker guided them to a comfortable win.
With assistant coach Jason Demetriou at the helm, Souths supporters gained a glimpse into the future as he has been appointed to succeed Bennett in 2022 and they would have liked what they saw.
The Rabbitohs made just six errors in the match and the win was their biggest since the 40-12 defeat of the Warriors in round 6 as Reynolds pinned Brisbane in their own end by forcing five goal line drop-outs.
Rabbitohs centre Dane Gagai opened the scoring in the 15th minute after prop Liam Knight popped an offload to Reynolds who spread the ball to the left edge through fullback Latrell Mitchell for the Queensland Origin star to cross for his eighth try of the season.
Match: Rabbitohs v Broncos
Round 13 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Reynolds converted and landed a penalty goal three minutes later to give Souths an 8-0 lead but the Broncos responded almost immediately when Darius Boyd sent Herbie Farnworth racing into space with a quick catch and pass movement.
However, two tries within a four-minute period before halftime appeared to kill off any hope of Brisbane repeating their 22-18 triumph against the Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium in round two before the NRL season was suspended.
Burgess overpowers the Broncos defence close to the line
Reynolds scored the first in the 32nd minute when he won the race for a grubber from winger Jaxson Paulo, who “nutmegged” Farnworth – a former Manchester United academy player – with a kick between his legs into the Broncos in-goal.
Souths next try was just as remarkable – or embarrassing from a Brisbane point of view – as prop Mark Nichols took a hit up from a tap by hooker Damien Cook 10 metres out from the Broncos line and charged through the entire opposition front-row of Matt Lodge, Payne Haas and Jake Turpin.
Trailing 20-6 at halftime, many feared another second half capitulation from Brisbane but the visitors were the first to score when star second-rower David Fifita pushed off an attempted tackle by Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker to score in the 45th minute.
Reynolds extended Souths lead to 22-10 with a 50th minute penalty goal but the Rabbitohs didn’t score a second half try until prop Tom Burgess forced his way over 13 minutes from full-time.
Nicholls catches the Broncos napping