Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
The Rabbitoh resurgence continued tonight as South Sydney, on the back of a near 80 minute performance, by skipper Roy Asotasi made it five wins in a row and proving too strong for the Parramatta Eels by 32-20 at ANZ Stadium.
The Eels started strong early. Prop Fuifui Moimoi replaced Nathan Cayless in the starting line-up and produced some robust charges giving the Eels some quality field position. The initial dominance led to tries to hooker Mark Riddell and winger Jarryd Hayne.
But the Eels began to miss prop workhorse Cayless as Moimoi began to tire. Mid way through the first half the Rabbitohs began to turn the field position around as the kicking game of Chris Sandow started to find some open space.
A controversial try to Champion was the Rabbitohs first scoring play. Champion appeared to lose control of the ball but it was given. This was followed by a double to emerging Rabbitoh centre Jamie Simpson giving the Rabbitohs a half time lead in a half where few mistakes were made.
The second half started better for the Eels. On the back of a few penalties, dynamic five-eight Feleti Mateo found Krisnan Inu with a lovely cut out ball. But at the 51st minute it all went sour for the Eels as Mateo fell awkwardly in a tackle. Mateo leaving the field was just the tonic the Rabbitohs needed as they attempted to win five in a row for the first time in fourteen years.
On the back of a brilliant kicking game by Sandow, the Rabbitohs controlled the game from there. Tries to Shannan McPherson and Shannon Hegarty extended the lead for the Rabbitohs as Mateo made a brave effort in coming back on from his knee injury. However his injury was still apparent as he tried to play his part in the attempted fight back.
Hooker Issac Luke who produced another strong game clinched the win with a determined run off a ball from Sandow. Sandow is really warming up to his task as a first grade footballer. The Rabbitohs now will try and make it six in a row next week as they line up against the Wests Tigers.