Two tries in the final five minutes have seen the South Sydney complete an emphatic 20-18 victory over the Penrith Panthers to kick-off the NRL's ANZAC Round.
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Penrith Panthers - ANZAC

Donning the 2023 ANZAC Round Jersey in tribute to the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service, the Rabbitohs fought through multiple periods while behind on the scoreboard, with their resilience leading to a last-minute try to Isaiah Tass sealing the win.

Latrell Mitchell was busy as ever with two tries, resulting in him kicking his 1000th premiership point, while running for a further 111 metres with the ball in hand.

On a heavy track following rainfall throughout the day, the Rabbitohs found themselves on the back foot early before scrambling defence by Campbell Graham stopped Dylan Edwards inches from the line to deny the Panthers.

The boot of Lachlan Ilias swung momentum to place pressure on the line, but with the Rabbitohs denying an opportunity to go up by two, a failed Captain's Challenge saw no points on their first venture to the line.

Both sides continued to battle to get on the board with defensive desperation and high-percentage football on display, before some razzle dazzle from Latrell Mitchell and Alex Johnston sent the Rabbitohs downfield.

Cook opens the scoring

Soon enough, it was Damien Cook who spun his way from dummy half to score the first of the night, with Mitchell giving the Rabbitohs a 6-nil lead after an arduous opening 20 minutes.

A forward pass call was the only thing between Jai Arrow and a further four points, while the Rabbitohs continued to mount pressure on their opponents with the injection of Thomas Burgess and Davvy Moale on the field.

Neither side was willing to let up with ten minutes remaining in the first stanza, but the momentum swung as a penalty got the Panthers out of jail, with a late try to Stephen Crichton bringing the scoreline to 6-all at the break.

Ilias rolls it in

Both sides went tit for tat to open the second half, with a short line dropout giving the Panthers an opportunity to take the lead with a two-point advantage after 50 minutes.

An unfortunate penalty for a crusher tackle saw the Panthers back downfield on the following set, and further pressure was placed on the line following a successful Captain's Challenge before Mitchell made a try-saving tackle on Sunia Turuva.

The Rabbitohs were back over halfway after a resilient period defending the line, and after the boot of Cody Walker led to a repeat set, Latrell Mitchell barged through a line of Panthers defenders from the following scrum for a 10-8 lead.

Latrell saves the try

With the intensity rising heading into the final 20 minutes and claret flowing among the combatants, another Penrith dropped ball gave South Sydney a prime opportunity to wrestle back momentum.

More creative flair from the key men saw the Rabbitohs mounting pressure on the line, until a wayward kick found Crichton, with Jai Arrow's effort denying the centre from crossing once more.

Mitchell too big, too strong

The Bunker came to the rescue following a nightmare sequence that saw Izack Tago cross for Penrith, before finding a knock-on in the process, however, the Rabbitohs' defence was up for another challenge following a lost ball.

The weight of possession saw Crichton in for his second of the night, but with the missed conversion, the Rabbitohs only had a two-point deficit heading into the final ten minutes of the match.

Further errors in their own half cruelled the Red and Green, and the bounce of the ball saw Crichton take advantage to score his third, with the conversion seeing the Rabbitohs behind by eight points in the final seven minutes.

A break from Johnston out wide saw the Rabbitohs within scoring range, and in a near-exact replica of the last try, a towering kick ricocheted to find Mitchell to bring up his 1000th point in the NRL to set up a grandstand finish.

With one final set, the lethal left side swung in motion, with Johnston throwing a late offload for Cody Walker, luring in Edwards to send Isaiah Tass streaming through to score the match-winner.

Can you believe this!?

Match Snapshot

Play of the Game

With the game on the line, the left side stood up to bring the victory and the Accor Stadium crowd to their feet.

In the final set of the match, the ball swung left, with Alex Johnston holding up the defence and finding Cody Walker in support. The wily five-eighth drew in Dylan Edwards to send Isaiah Tass careening downfield.

With defenders streaming in, the young centre pounced over the line for the final hammer blow, with the Rabbitohs claiming a famous 20-18 victory.

What's Next?

The Rabbitohs will turn their attention to the first-placed Brisbane Broncos next Friday night for Round 9 in what is expected to be a blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium.

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