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The South Sydney Rabbitohs have overcome arch-rivals the Sydney Roosters tonight for the first time at ANZ Stadium, victors 40-20 in front of 11,031 fans.
Souths were dominant from the outset and commanded most of the possession in the opening half-hour of the game, skipping to a 14-0 lead early courtesy of Jamie Simpson bagging two and Issac Luke also barging his way over early on. With two of the first three tries scored out wide, kickers Chris Sandow and Issac Luke both struggled with the boot early, and as such the Roosters were kept relatively close.
John Sutton put together a classy movement to sneak over himself and add to the Rabbitohs tally before the Roosters crossed for a try of their own. Despite the 14-point lead, there were concerning signs as it was only the Roosters second foray into the Rabbitohs' danger zone.
Halftime saw the Roosters lift their intensity and they held for ten minutes until a break from Fetuli Talanoa put the Rabbitohs in a strong position, but Willie Mason was then sin-binned despite not having done what the referee alleged. From the ensuing penalty the Bunnies were able to cross, Pettybourne the man to take it close to the line and add to the scoreboard.
The Roosters hit back with some enterprising play to put Shaun Kenny-Dowall over the line in the corner - and from there the floodgates opened. Back-to-back tries came for the Rabbitohs over the coming minutes, Jamie Simpson completing his hat-trick and Nathan Merritt streaking away off a Issac Luke break to put the result beyond doubt, before the Roosters themselves bagged two tries, including a stunner from Mitchell Pearce who found Anthony Minichiello with a cross-field chip before backing up in support to complete the set play; the other try coming close to the line from hooker Jake Friend.
The game finished with tired legs prevailing, the Bunnies able to hit forty with Craig Wing crossing in the 79th minute.
Another victory on the board keeps the Rabbitohs finals hopes alive tonight, the red-and-green men just one point outside the eight following that victory - and next week their credentials face their biggest test when they host the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon. The Roosters will head home themselves to the SFS to face the Wests Tigers.
Match Details South Sydney Rabbitohs 40 def Sydney Roosters 20 Round 20 - Monday July 27th, 2009 07:00pm Venue: ANZ Stadium, Homebush Bay Referee: Jason Robinson, Gerard Sutton Touch Judges: Peter Kirby, Russell Turner Video Referee: Russell Smith Crowd: 11,031 Halftime: Rabbitohs 18 Roosters 4
South Sydney Rabbitohs 40 Tries: Jamie Simpson (3), Issac Luke, John Sutton, Eddy Pettybourne, Nathan Merritt, Craig Wing Goals: Chris Sandow (4/6), Issac Luke (0/2)
Sydney Roosters 20 Tries: Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jake Friend, Mitchell Pearce Goals: Shaun Kenny-Dowall (2/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: John Sutton (Rabbitohs) 2 Points: Issac Luke (Rabbitohs) 1 Point: Jamie Simpson (Rabbitohs)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the game as it happens - Rabbitohs v Roosters forum discussion - click here!
We're at ANZ for the Monday night local derby - the Ron Coote Cup is the name of the trophy the teams will play for tonight and there's sure to be plenty of spice. The Rabbitohs have lost Michael Crocker off the bench for this game, whilst Soliola and Shackleton change spots - the former to start while the latter drops to the bench.
A solid crowd streaming into ANZ Stadium - won't be anywhere near as big as the near-32,000 crowd that filled the same ground just two days prior, but good nonetheless.
RABBITOHS: 1. Nathan Merritt 2. Jamie Simpson 3. Colin Best 4. Beau Champion 5. Fetuli Talanoa 6. John Sutton 7. Chris Sandow 8. Luke Stuart 9. Issac Luke 10. Roy Asotasi (c) 11. Ben Lowe 12. Eddy Pettybourne 13. David Fa