A spirited comeback has fallen short for South Sydney in Perth, going down to the Cronulla Sharks 26-16.

After trailing 26-0 midway through the second half, the Rabbitohs scored three late tries to give them an unlikely hope, but ultimately it proved too much to overcome.

In a game with serious finals implications, Cronulla had the first real chance of the game in the seventh minute through former Rabbitoh Connor Tracey, only to be denied with a legs tackle from Latrell Mitchell forcing an error.

The Sharks were on the attack again in the 12th minute, only for rookie winger Tyrone Munro to come up with an intercept and stop another raid.

Eventually the resistance broke and Cronulla was able to post first points, with a very questionable pass not called, allowing Mawene Hiroti to score in the 18th minute.

There were no issues with their second try of the night in the 24th minute, with Sione Katoa doubling their advantage to 12-0 after a big right foot step capped off a long run.

The Rabbitohs could not get into their rhythm, and when a goal-line dropout failed to go the sufficient distance, they found themselves down by 14 with eight minutes left in the half.

Their best chance of the half came in the closing stages as Alex Johnston found himself on the end of a backline movement in tight confines, only to be denied by the Bunker for putting a foot over the sideline.

The task became a little more difficult just moments into the second half with Braydon Trindall getting across the strip and pushing the Sharks lead out to 20-0.

Campbell Graham gave the Rabbitohs a hint of hope after spectacularly getting on the end of a kick, only to be ruled to be held up over the line.

Trindall’s second try of the evening after some incredible work from Hiroti to keep a grubber kick in the field of play made the job at hand near impossible for Souths, trailing by 26 with just over 20 minutes to play.

It would take a mighty effort to get back into the game, and it started with a simple cutout from Mitchell to Johnston in the 64th minute to finally get them on the board.

Alex Johnston try 63rd minute

Hope started to turn into belief with another try from the very next set, with Johnston racing down the sideline and putting a pin-point kick on the chest of Lachlan Ilias to score and get back to within 14 points.

Lachlan Ilias try 64th minute

With time winding down and a touch over six minutes left, the Rabbitohs reduced the deficit to 10 after Cody Walker put Isaiah Tass into a gap near the line.

That would be as close as they would get, with Tom Burgess sent to the sin bin for a high shot over the concluding stages.

Isaiah Tass with a Spectacular Try

Match snapshot

Play of the Game

With their first try of the night past the hour mark, a lovely kick infield from Alex Johnston landed on the chest of Lachlan Ilias to give South Sydney back-to-back tries and the faintest of hope to launch a miracle comeback.

What’s Next?

South Sydney will continue its road trip in the tropics next weekend, heading to Cairns to face off with the St George Illawarra Dragons. Revenge will be on their minds after a narrow defeat earlier in the season with a depleted squad at Kogarah.

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