The South Sydney Rabbitohs were defeated in an emphatic fashion by a returning Adam Reynolds and the Brisbane Broncos, 32-12 on Thursday Night at Accor Stadium. Here are some of the key takeaways from the game.
Reynolds comes back to haunt the Rabbitohs
The all-time leading points-scorer for the Rabbitohs, Adam Reynolds faced his former Club for the first time since signing for the Broncos, putting on a masterclass in a winning effort on Thursday night.
In the build-up to this highly anticipated matchup, the focus was solely on Reynolds and his return against his former side. Reynolds turned back the clock with a strong performance, leading the Broncos in attack, scoring a try whilst setting up two and finishing up with 16 points. The halfback took over the game with over 543 kick metres, forcing the Rabbitohs on the back-foot in the attack.
The Rabbitohs managed to keep his running game in check, keeping him accountable with an average of seven-metres per run. However, Reynolds was able to impact the game with his passing and kicking, setting up his teammates and picking apart the Rabbitohs in a fast-past manner.
After missing the round one fixture, Reynolds came out with a point to prove and will give the Rabbitohs plenty of motivation if they are to meet in the finals.
Trent Peoples becomes the third debutant in four weeks
With Thomas Burgess ruled out in the lead up to the game, Jason Demetriou looked to his extended squad and gave NSW Cup standout, Trent Peoples a well-deserved NRL debut. Peoples, who became Souths' third NRL debutant in just four weeks, excelled off the bench and played the majority of the game in the middle.
The 23-year-old has been a regular on the extended squad for the last couple of weeks and waited for his chance to show Demetriou what he could do when given a NRL chance. Peoples did not let his side down, coming on in the 16th minute and staying on the field for the remainder of the game.
Peoples replicated his impressive NSW Cup form, getting through a mountain of work on both sides of the field, running for 110 metres whilst getting through 24 tackles on defence. In his NRL debut, Peoples looked like an experienced veteran and asked plenty of questions from the Broncos defence, with his imposing runs throughout the game. The young forward’s debut only highlights the Rabbitohs depths in the pack going forward and will give Demetriou another solid option off the bench.
Taaffe and Graham continue impressive form.
Blake Taaffe and Campbell Graham shined in a losing effort, leading the side from the back on both ends of the field.
Taaffe has made himself a natural with the 1 jersey on his back, looking more comfortable in attack as the weeks go on. Although he had an off night defensively, Taaffe’s impact on the Rabbitohs attack cannot be denied, finishing the night with 89 run metres, 51 kick-return metres, two line break assists, a try assist and line break. The 23-year-old also made himself an important linking piece between his forwards and wingers, tallying up 21 passes and 33 receipts.
Graham continued on his standout form thus far, pushing his name into the conversation to become the next centre for NSW in state of origin - with Souths’ CEO, Blake Solly, confirming Latrell Mitchell would miss game one.
The 22-year-old was inspirational in attack and defence, capping off his night with 104 run metres, three offloads and 17 tackles. Graham’s consistent performances have become a massive key for the Rabbitohs and has given the side a leader in a backline that has rarely been the same.
Rabbitohs find success on right-side through Milne
Although it was a tough night for the Rabbitohs in attack, there was a glimmer of hope given to them through the right side of the Broncos defence.
Taane Milne, who was a late replacement for Josh Mansour, was unlucky to not have had a hat-trick by halftime, with Walker and Ilias helping him expose the Broncos wing defence. On several occasions, Milne had the numbers advantage but was denied by some sensational last gasps defending from the Broncos edge.
After being denied a certain try early in the first-half, Milne couldn’t be held off for much longer as he breezed over the line moments before halftime to put the Rabbitohs back in the contest. Milne capped off the game with another try in the 56th minute, along with 156 run metres and three line breaks.
Milne was outstanding all night on both ends of the field and on another day, could of found himself with a handful of tries. However, the Broncos showed more energy and passion in defence and held Milne and the Rabbitohs attack to just two tries in an emphatic victory.