The South Sydney Rabbitohs have come agonisingly close to defeating the Cronulla Sharks at Accor Stadium, falling short 12 points in what was a gripping contest right to the end.

The boys from Maroubra were certainly gallant in defeat, nearly overcoming a massive injury crisis which saw Junior Tatola, Tyrone Munro and skipper Cameron Murray leave the field and fail to return.

Jye Gray was particularly impressive on debut, and had some promising involvements both attack and defence. Thomas Burgess was also fantastic for Souths, turning the momentum of the game in the Rabbitohs’ favour with a destructive second half stint.

The comeback looked likely for South Sydney with just five minutes to go, but it was not to be, with a 79th minute try to the Sharks sealing the 34-22 loss for the Rabbitohs.

Souths were under pressure early on the injury front, with back-rower Jacob Host sent for a HIA after a head clash with teammate Jack Wighton in the 5th minute.

An extended run of possession in the Rabbitohs’ red zone saw the Sharks score first through left winger Ronaldo Mulitalo.

The injury pressure then continued to mount for Souths, with prop Junior Tatola limping off the field in the 15th minute with an ankle injury.

Despite the setback, Souths found themselves on the attack just minutes later, after an awkward long kick from Dean Hawkins forced Will Kennedy to run the ball out.

It only took one set on the Cronulla line for Souths to trouble the scorers, with Michael Chee Kam beating three Sharks defenders and crashing over on the left side.

Chee Kam Slices Through!

Returning winger Tyrone Munro was next to join the Rabbitohs’ injured brigade, leaving the field with a reaggravation of the collar-bone injury that kept him out of the first five rounds of the season. He was replaced by Jacob Host, who returned to the field after passing his earlier HIA.

The Rabbitohs earned a repeat set through a deft grubber from Hawkins, although they were unfortunately unable to capitalise.

Things then went from bad to worse on the injury front, as Jye Gray was sent for HIA after whiplash from a huge Mulitalo tackle, resulting in a reshuffle that saw Jack Wighton move to fullback and Cameron Murray to the centres, and Souths with just Thomas Burgess on the bench!

Gray did pass his HIA and was cleared to return just prior to half time, but not before the Sharks ran in two tries to retake the lead - the first to Tieg Wilton in the 28th minute, while Mulitalo nabbed his second in the 33rd minute.

With Souths staring down the barrel of a 16-6 halftime deficit, they then lost skipper Murray to yet another an HIA just seconds before the break after a high shot from Sione Katoa.

Murray would fail his HIA during halftime, leaving Souths to complete the second half without their captain, and with just 14 fit players.

A knock on by the Sharks gave Souths an early opportunity with a scrum feed 45m out from the line.

Gray threatened a number of times during the ensuing set, and Hawkins was able to force another goal-line drop out., although Souths were unfortunately unable to recover possession after a short drop out by Cronulla forced a Rabbitohs knock on.

The Sharks on the other hand, were able to make the most of their opportunities, picking up where they left off in the first half as Katoa scored untouched in the right corner.

A barnstorming run from Burgess in the middle got South Sydney on the front foot. They then spread the ball right, with Hawkins throwing a cut-out ball to Taane Milne who burrowed in to score.

Milne went low and score

Hawkins then nailed the sideline conversion, breathing life back into the contest by reducing the deficit to just 10 with 23 minutes to go.

Cronulla hit back in a timely fashion, with Mulitalo gathering in a high kick and offloading to Wilton to score his second for the night.

Souths would then regather the ball from the ensuing kick off, finding themselves immediately on the attack.

Hawkins ran from dummy half down the blind side on the last tackle of the set, before sending a grubber into the in-goal to earn another repeat set for Souths.

The Red and Green would then score their third try of the game, with Burgess the recipient of a Siliva Havili offload to score untouched next to the posts to reduce the deficit back to 10 for the second time in the game, this time with just 11 minutes remaining.

Havili to Burgess combo

Souths found themselves on the attack again thanks to a penalty in the middle of the field. This time it was Cody Walker who summed things up for the Rabbitohs, sending Isaiah Tass over untouched in the left corner to reduce the deficit to six with five to go.

The Sharks threatened to put the contest to bed on numerous occasions. Souths hung on for dear life, with Hawkins bringing down a rampaging Siosifa Talakai just meters shy of the try line.

The comeback was foiled ultimately foiled, despite Souths' best efforts, with a try to Blayke Brailey sealing the result for Cronulla in the 79th minute of the game.

Tass to score

Match Snapshot

Chee Kam Slices Through!

What’s Next?

South Sydney go into the bye in round 7, and will have an extra week to prepare for their Anzac Day clash against the Storm in Melbourne in round 8.

Subscribe to Receive The Latest News, Offers & Member Exclusives.