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Rabbitohs claim the Ron Coote Cup against Roosters

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have claimed the Ron Coote cup defeating the Roosters 54 points to 12 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. The Rabbitohs ran in 9 tries to 2 in a to defeat their rivals for the third consecutive match for the first time in 33 years.

The match was a spiteful affair with the two sides coming together on multiple occasions and three players spending time in the sin bin, including Latrell Mitchell was placed on report for high contact on Roosters centre Joey Manu.

Match Highlights: Roosters v Rabbitohs

The Rabbitohs started fast with Alex Johnstone scoring his 25th try of the season outpacing young Roosters winger Brad Abbey on his way to the line. Junior Tatola thought he had crossed for the second try of the match following a late offload from Cam Murray, but the review found a knock-on in a lead up and a high shot on Murray, with the Rabbitohs awarded a penalty from in front to take an 8 nil lead. 

Instead, it was the Roosters who hit back with a try through Joey Manu, who snatched the ball out of the air from a Drew Hutchison kick after the Rabbitohs turned over possession deep inside their own half. 

It was the GOAT Mark Nicholls who crossed next for the Rabbitohs with Cam Murray heavily involved once again, providing a flat pass at the line that allowed the prop forward to poke his nose through and find the line. Nicholls wasn't done scoring tries though, and a few minutes later was in for a double, with Damien Cook this time the man supplying the pass. 

Next to score was Latrell Mitchell, scoring his first try against his former club after pushing up in support for Jaxson Paulo on the right-wing before Paulo turned the ball back inside before he was forced into touch.

Adam Reynolds was forced from the field just before halftime after picking up a leg injury earlier in the match. The Rabbitohs captain was able to continue for several minutes before leaving the field and bringing Benji Marshal into the fray, but was able to return later in the second half.

The match took a bitter turn in the second half with a number of incidences that could have ramifications for the remainder of the season. Liam Knight was placed on report in the 47th minute for applying pressure to the knees of Siua Taukeiaho, and from the ensuing penalty, Sam Verrills found his way to the line for the Roosters second try of the game. 

Latrell Mitchell was placed in the sin-bin for a high shot on Joey Manu in the 57th-minute during a period where the momentum of the match had swung towards the Roosters. The contact forced the Roosters centre from the field with heated words exchanged between the former teammates. Egan Butcher was placed on report for a lifting tackle shortly after, and during the ensuing set, the Rabbitohs managed to score while a man short through Jaxson Paulo following a nice offload from Jadyn Su'A.

Alex Johnston scored his second in the 68th minute to steady the ship for the Rabbitohs who had built pressure on the Roosters in the preceding sets forcing multiple dropouts before breaching the Roosters line.

Latrell Mitchell crossed for his second following a line break by Cody Walker that included a fantastic pass to Dane Gagai to set up the opportunity for Latrell to crash over the line on the following play.

Both sides were reduced to 12 men after Sitili Tupouniua and Dane Gagai were marched to the sin bin by Ashley Klein, but souths weren't finished scoring points, with Jaxson Paulo bagging a double of his own before Alex Johnston made it another hat-trick for the final word in the 79th minute.

Press Conference: Roosters v Rabbitohs- Round 24, 2021

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