South Sydney’s Pathways had a mixed weekend with some tough conditions forcing plenty of change throughout the weekend.
The NSW Cup side has kept their finals hopes alive, keeping Mounties scoreless in an emphatic win on Saturday afternoon.
After a last-minute venue change, the Jersey Flegg Cup side fell agonisingly short against the Thunderbolts.
Match: Rabbitohs v Mounties
Round 19 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
With their season seemingly on the line, the Rabbitohs made a statement by keeping Mounties scoreless in a 30-point victory.
A hat-trick from Izaac Thompson highlighted an incredible performance from the team on both ends of the field.
The Rabbitohs set the tone for the game in the opening minutes by forcing Mounties into a couple of errors, before capitalising and opening the scoring moments later through Izaac Thompson.
As the game progressed and the conditions worsened, both sides went back and forth with errors.
After finding their footing back in the game, South Sydney quickly doubled their lead as Thompson secured a double in the 19th minute.
Thompson’s double would be the only points of the first half as the ground began to fall victim to the wet weather.
Holding a 12-point lead heading into the break the Rabbitohs had all the momentum in their corner as their defensive efforts proved too hard to overcome for their opponents.
The second-half started off in a similar fashion to the first, with the Rabbitohs getting on the board early.
It was Romano Cook who crossed over from dummy-half just moments after the break to send the Rabbitohs into an 18 point lead.
Thompson continued on his outstanding afternoon in the 50th minute when he secured his hat-trick and sent the Rabbitohs into an unassailable lead.
After a rapid start in the opening 50 minutes of the game, both sides fell back into the rhythm of a slow grind as the rain began to come down even heavier.
It wasn’t until the 62nd minute that the next and final try would be scored as Shannon Gardiner found his way through courtesy of some nice build-up play from Josh Mansour.
Blake Taffee sent the lead to 30 in the final play of the game after converting on a penalty-goal to cap off the statement win for Souths.
Izaac Thompson stole the show with his hat-trick and was instrumental coming out of his end with over 200 run metres, whilst posing a threat anytime he was near the line.
Daniel Suluka-Fifita impressed on his debut game for the Rabbitohs, leading all players in run-metres and finishing second in most tackles
Dean Hawkins controlled the game with his kicks in tough conditions, whilst having a hand in a lot of points with two try-assists.
The Rabbitohs go up against arguably the best side in the competition when they face the Newton Jets next week.
Jersey Flegg Cup
Match: Rabbitohs v Thunderbolts
Round 19 -
Venue: Snape Park, Maroubra
The Jersey Flegg Cup side went down in dramatic fashion to the Victorian Thunderbolts in tricky conditions.
The game was in danger of being called off, but the Randwick Council allowed the game to go ahead at Snape Park.
The late change and treacherous conditions favoured Victoria as they opened an early lead.
Tiraa Ua got the visitors off to a dream start with a quick double, as the Thunderbolts forward pack took an early advantage.
Cruise Tweedie opened the scoring for the Rabbitohs minutes later, as both sides struggle to maintain possession for long periods of time due to the conditions.
Although it was a struggle for both sides, Victoria held the upper hand for the remainder of the half as their dominant forwards continued to impose themselves.
The middle sector of the game was plagued by errors with the ball continuing to slip out of the hands of both sets of players.
It was in the final period of the game when both sides took the intensity up a notch and put on a thrilling ending.
The Rabbitohs put themselves within two points of the Thunderbolts when Carsen Kaho crossed over.
Mitchell Chester ensured Souths first lead of the game with his try in the 53rd minute, as the Rabbitohs began to turn the momentum of the game.
However, the Rabbitohs surge in attack was halted by Victoria as they quickly found themselves back in the lead.
Josiah-Ekkehard Neli and Cole Geyer both scored for the Thunderbolts in the final ten minutes as they went into to a ten-point lead.
The Rabbitohs gave themselves a late lifeline when Tyrone Munro crossed over in the final two minutes, but it was too little too late.
It’s been the story of their season thus far as another late comeback was not enough to overcome an early lead.
The Jersey Flegg side will return to action this Sunday when they face the Sharks at Pointsbet Stadium.
Rabbitohs’ Head of Pathways, Joe O’Callaghan noted his pride in the performance shown by both sides.
“I want to thank the Randwick council for allowing the game to happen at what was seemingly the only ground open in Sydney on the weekend,” he said.
“Victoria have a very tough pack and the conditions suited them a lot more than it did us, the boys still turned up and that’s a credit to them.
“The boys came from behind and the conditions proved to the be a factor in the end, it’s tough for them to still get up for a game considering the season they’re having, they took it to the Thunderbolts so it’s a massive credit to them and the coaching staff.”
“It’s good to see the NSW Cup side get a win after three-straight losses, it was a commanding win and most importantly we kept them to zero which is a massive result.
“Hopefully both staff and players get a lot of confidence to take into the last part of the season as they look to play finals footy.”