Cameron Murray and Latrell Mitchell led South Sydney to an emphatic 48-10 defeat of the Warriors on Saturday that keeps the Rabbitohs top four hopes alive.
Murray set up the first three tries of the match, while Mitchell scored two and laid on two others as a ruthless Souths side leapfrogged the Broncos and Roosters into sixth position on the Telstra Premiership ladder.
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Warriors
So dominant was Murray that the Rabbitohs captain had run more than 100 metres by the time second-rower Keaon Kaloamatangi scored his side's fourth try in the 21st minute and he finished with a game high 191 metres.
Mitchell was at his entertaining best and treated fans to a Wallaby ears try celebration after scoring his second, while laying on tries for wingers Alex Johnston and Izaak Thompson, who made his NRL debut at the age of 25.
Latrell gets his second
Souths play Parramatta next Friday night in a match with likely ramifications for the make-up of the top eight and potentially the top four, as the Storm play the Panthers and the Roosters face the Cowboys next weekend.
Match: Rabbitohs v Warriors
Round 21 -
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
- The first sign of what was to lie ahead came in just the third minute when Souths halfback Lachlan Ilias sliced between Warriors second-rower Bayley Sironen and five-eighth Wayde Egan to score off a Cameron Murray pass.
- Murray laid on a second try for hooker Damien Cook just six minutes later after busting through the defensive line 40 metres out, dummying and pushing off Aaron Pene to send his NSW Origin team-mate racing away to score.
- The Rabbitohs third try was also laid on by Murray, who this time slipped a ball for Tevita Tatola to score, despite the attention of Sironen, Tohu Harris and Jack Murchie, in the 16th minute.
- When Ilias put second-rower Keaon Koloamatangi over for South Sydney's fourth try in the 21st minute, the Rabbitohs were scoring at better than a point a minute.
- The Warriors finally got on the scoreboard in the 26th minute when winger Ed Kosi, who scored a hat-trick against Parramatta last weekend, finished a backline movement.
- Regular service resumed four minutes later when Rabbitohs superstar Latrell Mitchell received a late off-load from Jai Arrow and pushed aside Warriors Bunty Afoa to score.
- Mitchell stripped the ball one-on-one from Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and the defence cracked again under sustained pressure when the Rabbitohs fullback shovelled a pass to Alex Johnston to score his 159th NRL try.
- Leading 36-6 at halftime, Souths started the second term where they had left off, with Mitchell putting winger Izaack Thompson over for a try on debut in the 43rd minute.
- The Warriors hit back when Johnson passed to Sironen and performed a run-around to create an overlap against the Rabbitohs' left edge defence to score.
- Mitchell quickly put paid to any thought of a late comeback like the Warriors mounted during the Magic Round clash with Souths when he strolled over to score in the 56th minute.
- He was then given an early mark by Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou after a 66-minute performance that featured his trademark Wallaby ears try celebration.
Play of the game
Former Dragons lower grade winger Izaak Thompson was handed his NRL debut with Souths after returning to the game following a four-year lay-off and the 25-year-old couldn't have asked for more than to score a try.
Thompson's 43rd-minute try set the tone for the second half and featured a perfectly placed rocket ball from superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell before the winger pushed off Reece Walsh to score.
Dream debut for Thompson
NRL Press Conference: Rabbitohs v Warriors - Round 21, 2022
The Rabbitohs travel to CommBank Stadium next Friday night to take on Parramatta in a clash with a bearing on the finals ambitions of both clubs, while the Warriors host the Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium.
Souths coach Jason Demetriou will welcome back England prop Tom Burgess from suspension, while Scotland centre Campbell Graham may be available after surgery for a facial fracture sustained in the last clash with the Eels on July 5.
A win against Parramatta could see the Rabbitohs leapfrog the Eels into fifth place on for-and-against.
The Warriors will be hoping for another good performance in front of their home fans after beating Wests Tigers and suffering a narrow loss to the Storm in their only two matches in New Zealand since 2019.
Playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita (shoulder) and centre Jesse Arthars (quad) may be available for selection.