South Sydney's season came to an end with a 26-12 defeat at the hands of the Sydney Roosters.
The oldest rivalry in the game with everything to play for attracted a bumper crowd at Accor Stadium to set the scene for a massive night.
Despite winning the early territory battle, a poor kick was compounded by a penalty to give the Roosters the best chance through the early stages, only for a forward pass to halt their momentum.
When Alex Johnston was unable to bring down a Sam Walker kick cleanly, Corey Allan was there to pounce and open the scoring in the eighth minute.
Errors started to creep in for both teams before the Rabbitohs enjoyed their best chance with a shift to the right, before the Roosters defence thwarted their claims.
A stray knee to Blake Taaffe forced him from the field after 18 minutes, but Souths were able to keep the pressure on and eventually crack the Roosters soon after.
A decoy play close to the line saw Tevita Tatola drag in two defenders and Damien Cook putting a lovely pass onto the chest of Cameron Murray to put them in front 6-4.
After Cody Walker was questionably penalised for an escort within kicking range the Roosters were able to tie things up.
The 32nd minute was one of mixed fortunes, with the returning Izaac Tu'itupou Thompson putting on the biggest hit of the night on Billy Smith, before news that Taaffe failed his HIA.
That forced changes with Isaiah Tass shifting to the wing, Johnston to fullback and Michael Chee Kam into the centres.
The Roosters received the benefit of another contentious call to give them another set on the Rabbitohs' line, and they took full advantage with Fetalaiga Pauga scoring in the corner to put the Roosters up 10-6 at the break.
A good start to the half was offset with the Roosters scoring first through James Tedesco to open up a 10-point lead early in the second stanza.
With a wealth of possession in enemy territory, the Rabbitohs finally prevailed through Chee Kam who used his strength from close range to force his way over and bring it back to 16-12 with 22 minutes remaining.
The next period was hotly contested as both sides traded blows and had their opportunities to attack, with some quality defence on show.
The task was made tougher as Billy Smith barged his way over the line in the 70th minute to put the opposition up 20-12.
South Sydney's season came to an end soon after with Sam Walker crossing to put the result beyond doubt.
- An error from Alex Johnston was capitalised upon by Corey Allan to gift the Roosters first points after eight minutes.
- Cameron Murray hit a huge gap on the back of some good work from Damien Cook and Tevita Tatola to give Souths a 6-4 advantage in the 21st minute.
- Fetalaiga Pauga acrobatically scored in the corner to put the Roosters in front 10-6 at half-time.
- The Roosters pushed their lead out to 10 points through James Tedesco early in the second half.
- Michael Chee Kam busted his way over the line from inside the 10 to bring it back to 16-12 in the 57th minute.
- Billy Smith made things difficult for the Rabbitohs, scoring to stretch the lead past a converted try inside the final 10 minutes.
- When Sam Walker scored inside the final five minutes, the result was wrapped up for the visitors.
Play of the Game
Makeshift centre Michael Chee Kam made the most of a host of possession early in the second half to keep the Rabbitohs in the contest with a vital score in the 55th minute, setting up a huge final 20 minutes.
Unfortunately, that is it for South Sydney’s season, as they look to dust themselves off and come back strong for a big 2024 campaign.