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Latrell, Cody magic lifts depleted Rabbitohs to victory

One kick is all it takes.

An injury-ravaged South Sydney Rabbitohs have come away with a 40-28 win over Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium and it was a stroke of brilliance from first-time captain Latrell Mitchell in the 30th minute that sparked the fightback.

With the visitors down 16-6 and staring down the potential of conceding further points, a pin-point goal-line dropout from Mitchell saw South Sydney regain possession, sparking a run that would see them close out the half with an attacking flurry.

They were awarded a penalty in that set to help them go the length of the field through an overlap putting Richie Kennar over in the corner. The winger had his second just moments later, swallowing a Cody Walker kick to give the Rabbitohs the lead again.

With the Knights on the attack in the closing stages of the half, it was Walker who had his eyes up in defence, picking off a pass to race the best part of 83 metres to touch down for his second of the half and send his side into the sheds up 24-16.

The night started in horror fashion for a Rabbitohs side, with Lachlan Ilias suffering a cheekbone injury in just the second tackle of the night that would see him ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

It came on the back of the late withdrawal of Alex Johnston prior to kick-off, leaving a new-look line-up to try and get the job done.

Despite the setbacks, it was Walker who got South Sydney on the board first, getting on a loose pass to burrow his way over from close range.

They looked to double the advantage soon after with Kodi Nikorima just inches away from the tryline, before being run down late by Dominic Young.

It was that man who scored first for Newcastle, sparking a run of three straight tries to give the home side a healthy buffer.

All the momentum to close out the first half was carried over in the start of the second stanza, with a lovely cut-out from Walker to give Kennar an easy passage to the line for his hat-trick pushing the lead out further.

That advantage was stretched to 18 points as Walker notched his third try assist of the game, with his kick clean bowling Tex Hoy, with Junior Tatola getting his hand to it first, his maiden try of 2022.

An intense final 20 minutes was set up after the Knights brought the deficit back to 34-22. Any hopes they had of spoiling the Rabbitohs night were evaporated after Jaxson Paulo broke through three defenders to score in the corner.

The win elevates the Rabbitohs to fifth on the ladder with two games remaining this round, ahead of a showdown with the Canterbury Bulldogs next Sunday night.

Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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