DEFENSIVE PRESSURE ON SONG
The first 15 minutes of the game was all South Sydney, and a key reason for that was the willingness to get up and attack in defence.
Cameron Murray set the tone in the opening minutes and others followed as the Sharks had no answers for the pressure being applied.
As errors crept in, the pressure dropped and the Sharks poked their noses in front at the half.
That pressure was again prevalent in the second half and is something they’ll need for the full 80 in the coming weeks.
HAVILI’S HOT RUN
Siliva Havili has been one of the Rabbitohs most consistent performers this season, and again he showed how valuable his impact can be.
The versatile forward was a wrecking ball with every hit-up he took, regularly dragging multiple defenders backwards.
We’ve seen him fill multiple roles where needed so far in 2022, but he’s looked at his best when he’s running off the back fence in the middle of the field.
His night of 162 running metres was huge, along with another massive game from Tom Burgess off the interchange.
GOAL-LINE PLAY DOESN’T ASK ENOUGH QUESTIONS
The Rabbitohs had plenty of chances and full sets on the line to come away with the win, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
For the most part they weren’t asking enough questions of the Cronulla defence, with a lot of the goal-line plays consisting of barge plays from the forwards.
The likes of Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker didn’t get enough opportunity to try and work their magic close to the line and although Tatola eventually did cross from short range, more needed to be thrown at the Sharks.
AERIAL RAIDS CAUSE HEADACHES
The Sharks smelt blood in the first half and continually peppered the Rabbitohs back three with targeted kicks that paid off.
Latrell Mitchell could only watch on a handful of occasions as the Sharks chasers launched themselves at the ball, Jaxson Paulo made an uncharacteristic mistake from a long kick, and Cronulla scored a thrilling try on the back of Ronaldo Mulitalo jumping out of the ground.
It was a key area of concern throughout the contest for South Sydney and an area to improve on as we get into the final rounds.
ERRORS PROVE COSTLY AT KEY MOMENTS
For the most part of the contest South Sydney could be considered the better side of the contest.
But costly errors at crucial periods of the game allowed Cronulla back into the game, and ultimately it was where their points came from.
Dropped balls to close out the first half were punished by the Sharks, and the final try from Andrew Fifita was again on the back of a dropped ball deep inside Rabbitohs territory.
That performance showed they can match it with the competition’s best, but those mistakes will need to be limited.