A depleted South Sydney Rabbitohs side has scored a come from behind 25-18 win over the Newcastle Knights in front of 13,255 fans at a wet ANZ Stadium.
South Sydney were missing key stars Greg Inglis, Ben Te’o and Chris McQueen through origin selection as well as Sam Burgess through suspension but that didn’t stop a strong showing from the Rabbitohs with many of their regulars putting in a good performance.
However early on it was the Knights who had the momentum with early tries to Alex McKinnon and debutant Josh Mantellato who also managed to put in one of the best conversions so far in NRL season 2013 continuing his good form from the NSW CUP.
Souths looked to be on the ropes in the opening 20 minutes but were helped with plenty of penalties against the Knights which helped them to get out of their own half and grow momentum. Souths capitalised on this momentum with tries to John Sutton and Beau Champion.
The first half ended up level at the break even though the Knights were able to cross the Souths line before the break but Joey Leilua was unable to get the ball down with the video referees agreeing with the call of referee Gavin Badger.
The second half started off with some risk free football although Souths won’t be happy with a couple of simple errors being made in the opening 10 minutes.
A barnstorming run by George Burgess gave him his fifth try of the season and
pushed Souths into the lead for the first time and then ten minutes later rookie Dylan Walker extended the lead with a try in the corner with both being converted by Adam Reynolds.
Soon after it was the Knights turn to score with winger James McManus scoring from a scrum after Jason Clark dropped the ball close to his own goalline early in the set of six.
That was to be the end of the tries for the night but the last point of the match was scored by Adam Reynolds who kicked a field goal from 45 metres out to take Souths lead out beyond a converted try.
Although it was a good game there was disappointment for both sides with Alex McKinnon suffering a bad ankle injury in the first half and then Beau Champion suffered an ankle/lower leg injury to put a sour touch on the night. Souths will also have a nervous wait with Isaac Luke put on report for a shoulder charge on Jeremy Smith.
Next week South Sydney get the enjoyment of having the bye while the Knights head back home to host the St George Illawarra Dragons on Saturday.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 25 Newcastle Knights 18
Venue: Stadium Australia
Halftime Score: 12 all
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - George Burgess
2 points - Josh Mantellato
1 point - John Sutton
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (25)
Tries: John Sutton, Beau Champion, George Burgess, Dylan Walker
Field Goals: John Sutton (0/1), Adam Reynolds (1/1)
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (4/4)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (18)
Tries: Alex McKinnon, Josh Mantellato, James McManus
Conversions: Josh Mantellato (3/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Interchange: 15. Jason Clark 17. George Burgess 18. Josh Starling 19. Luke Keary
Knights: 1. Kevin Naiqama 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 18. Josh Mantellato 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. Kade Snowden 9. Travis Waddell 10. Willie Mason 11. Robbie Rochow 12. Alex McKinnon 13. Jeremy Smith
Interchange: 15. David Fa'alogo 16. Adam Cuthbertson 17. Korbin Sims 19. Matt Hilder
For Newcastle, Peter Mata'utia is out replaced by Josh Mantellato on the wing, while Adam Clydsdale is out with illness, his replacement on the bench is Matt Hilder.
Jeff Lima makes an unforced error.
Jeff Lima makes an error 15m out from his own line, giving possession back to the Knights
Scored by Alex McKinnon. Conversion attempt by Josh Mantellato successful.
Opening points go to the Knights with an unmarked Alex McKinnon scoring off an offload, debutant Josh Mantellato has no problems converting
Newcastle Knights 6-0
Jarrod Mullen kicks a 40/20.
Jarrod Mullen puts in a 40/20 that will put Newcastle in to good field position to possibly puts some points on the board
Scored by Josh Mantellato. Conversion attempt by Josh Mantellato successful.
Debutant Josh Mantellato scores with an excellent finish in the corner and puts in an amazing conversion from the sideline to extend their lead
Newcastle Knights 12-0
Scored by John Sutton. Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
The man who unluckily missed State Of Origin selection during the week John Sutton pushes his way over the tryline and gives Souths their first points. Adam Reynolds has no problems converting
Newcastle Knights 12-6
Scored by Beau Champion. Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
South Sydney take advantage of the extra set of the Penalty and score through Beau Champion, Adam Reynolds converts to bring it back level
Roy Asotasi makes an unforced error.
Roy Asotasi puts the ball down halfway through the set, giving Knights possession in the Souths half
Nathan Peats makes an unforced error.
Nathan Peats puts the ball down, not a good start to the half for Souths with 2 errors in the opening 5 minutes
Bryson Goodwin makes an unforced error.
Bryson Goodwin makes an error in the play the ball, Souths complain that it was Matt Hilder who forced the ball loose, referees Badger & Shortall not interested in his complaints
Tyrone Roberts makes an unforced error.
Drops a high pass and gives Souths possession
Scored by George Burgess. Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
A barnstorming run from George Burgess gives Souths the lead for the first time in the match with Adam Reynolds converting from in front
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-12
Joseph Leilua makes an unforced error.
A strong Andrew Everingham tackle has force Joey Leilua to drop the ball 10m out from Souths line
Scored by Dylan Walker. Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
Dylan Walker scores for the Rabbitohs, started the set with a magnificent bomb take then finishes it off with a good try in the corner, Adam Reynolds converts from out wide
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-12
Jason Clark makes an unforced error.
Clark looks up at the defensive line before taking the ball securely
Scored by James McManus. Conversion attempt by Josh Mantellato successful.
A good piece of play from the Scrum gives James McManus his 11th try of the season and another brilliant hooking conversion from Josh Mantellato brings the margin back to 6
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-18
Field goal attempt by John Sutton unsuccessful.
John Sutton tries to push the lead out to 7 but attempt goes wide
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-18
Field goal attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
Adam Reynolds kicks a field goal from 45m out, is it the killer blow for the knights?
South Sydney Rabbitohs 25-18