Rusty's Rabbits sink the Warriors

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have defeated the Vodafone Warriors 35-28 in a close and entertaining match at Mt Smart Stadium this evening.

Without their two Origin players Steve Price and Brent Tate all the early running was with the Warriors as they had the better of possession and field position right from the opening set. After getting a repeat set on the Bunnies line it was Epalahame Lauaki who gave a nice cutout ball to put Michael Crokett away for the opening try of the match.

The Warriors continued to build pressure after this and Patrick Ah Van pounced on a grubber from Grant Rovelli. The Video Ref had a look and awarded the try. The points didn't stop there as on the very next set Crockett got his second after a crossfield kick from Nathan Fien was batted back by Jerome Ropati.

From this point on the rest of the half belonged to South Sydney. Some dropped ball and poor defence by the home side let Souths put on back to back tries to debutant Jamie Simpson and Fetuli Talanoa. The last of Souths tries in the first half came when Issac Luke bolted out of dummy half and put a chip kick through for himself, as he regathered Luke gave an inside ball to Manase Manuokafoa who scored giving a 18-14 lead to Souths at the half.

The second half started off much like the first with Warriors getting the early going. After getting a repeat set off a lovely chip from rookie half Chris Sandow, Fien's dropout came off the side of the boot and was pounced on by fullback Luke Capewell who ran 20 odd metres to score putting Souths up by 8. But with the vocal home crowd getting behind them the Warriors put on 3 back to back tries to Aidan Kirk, Crockett and Ropati. The Crockett try was a 100m beauty starting with great runs from Ruben Wiki and Simon Mannering before Ian Henderson took over. He ran from dummy half twice before offloading to Hohaia who found Fien. Great vision to put a chip through for Crockett scoring in the corner - that will be on the highlight reel.

Souths though would not go away and showed fighting spirit when Luke Stuart was rewarded with a try from a Roy Asotasi offload. Next set John Sutton busted the tackles of Wiki and Fien and found Capewell who inturn found Ben Lowe for a great try. Souths then closed out the game with a Chris Sandow field goal to get their second win and first win on the road. John Sutton was in great form assisting in 3 tries as was Issac Luke.

In the Toyota Cup under 20's the Warriors defeated Souths comfortably 31-4.

Match Details South Sydney Rabbitohs 35 def New Zealand Warriors 28 Round 13 - June 6th, 2008 6:00pm Venue: Mt Smart Stadium Referee: Tony De Las Heras Half time: Rabbitohs 18-14 Crowd: 13,112

New Zealand Warriors (28)
Tries: Michael Crockett (3), Patrick Ah Van, Aiden Kirk, Jerome Ropati
Goals: Patrick Ah Van (1/2), Lance Hohaia (1/3)
South Sydney Rabbitohs (35)
Tries: Jamie Simpson, Fetuli Talanoa, Manase Manuokafoa, Luke Capewell, Luke Stuart, Ben Lowe
Field Goals: Chris Sandow (1/1)
Goals: Issac Luke (3/4), Chris Sandow (2/2) Player of the Match
3 Points: John Sutton (Rabbitohs) 2 Points: Issac Luke (Rabbitohs) 1 Point: Luke Stuart (Rabbitohs) Live Commentary
Good Evening everyone and a warm welcome to this Round 13 fixture between the Warriors and the Bunnies from Mt Smart Stadium. The tale of the tape - Warriors - 14 wins Souths - 3 wins Last result - Round 7, 2007 - Warriors 18 Souths 16

As we heard during the week Manu Vatuvai was ruled out through injury and Wairangi Koopu comes on to his wing. Souths are as per the program.

WARRIORS: 1. Patrick Ah Van 2. Michael Crockett 3. Aidan Kirk 4. Jerome Ropati 18.Wairangi Koopu 6. Nathan Fien 7. Grant Rovelli 8. Ruben Wiki 9. Ian Henderson 10. Sam Rapira 11. Simon Mannering 12. Epalahame Lauaki 13. Micheal Luck Interchange: 14. Lance Hohaia 15. Evarn Tuimavave 16. Russell Packer 17. Sonny Fai RABBITOHS: 1. Luke Capewell 2. Nathan Merritt 3. Jamie Simpson 4. Fetuli Talanoa 5. John Tamanika 6. John Sutton 7. Chris Sandow 8. Scott Geddes 9. Issac Luke 10. Roy Asotasi 11. Luke Stuart 12. David Fa'alogo 13. Ben Lowe Interchange: 14. George Ndaira 15. Shannan McPherson 16. David Kidwell 17. Manase Manuokafoa

Conditions are fantastic overhead, the ground itself looks to have some surface dew. Earlier in the Toyota Cup Under 20's match the Warriors proved too strong winning convincingly 31-4.

We are good to go and Tony De La Heras gets us under way - Souths kickoff and will run towards the northern end.

2 min: Superb opening set from the Warriors, Fien kicks to the corner and Souths are bundled into touch. Warriors hot on attack early.

3 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Warriors hit the right side and Lauaki goes to the line and throws a sweet cutout ball to Crockett who goes over in the corner. Ah Van's conversion goes to the right. A horror start for the Bunnies. Conversion attempt by Patrick Ah Van unsuccessful. New Zealand Warriors 4-0

9 min: PENALTY against Souths for holding down in the ruck. Warriors really winning the battle of field position. The boys in black go on the attack again.

10 min: Rovelli puts the grubber through on the last and is almost grounded by Fien. Souths dropout and more pressure.

12 min: VIDEO REF - Gone upstairs for a possible try to the Warriors.

12 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Rovelli goes to the line and grubbers again it ricochet's off Sandow and Ah Van scoops up the dregs and scores. Conversion is good. Conversion attempt by Patrick Ah Van successful. New Zealand Warriors 10-0

14 min: VIDEO REF possible try to Crockett.

14 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Fien puts a cross field kick in and its batted back by Ropati into Wiki's hands who offloads to Crockett. He gets his second and she's all one way traffic at the moment. The kick sails wide right. New Zealand Warriors 14-0

20 min: Ohhh no. Rovelli has hoisted a boomer of a bomb and Capewell has put the pill down. Warriors scrum and they go on attack again.

21 min: Mannering gives a low ball to Koopu who puts it down. The Bunnies are off the hook. They get a relieving penalty as well for Luck and Rapira holding down in the tackle.

24 min: VIDEO REF a possible hitback from the Rabbits.

24 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Sutton dummies and takes the line on, and offloads to Fa'alogo who over runs it. Jamie Simpson comes running through to picks up the scraps and score under the black dot. Conversion attempt by Issac Luke successful. New Zealand Warriors 14-6

27 min: Ah Van brings it back and loses it in the tackle. Souths have the ball in the redzone.

27 min: Sutton grubbers and Fai cleans up in goal. Souths build pressure with the repeat set.

29 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Sutton gets the ball off a second man play, dummies inside and goes to the line. Talanoa hits the hole and goes in untouched. Shocking read on D by Ropati. Kick by Luke is good. Conversion attempt by Issac Luke successful. New Zealand Warriors 14-12

34 min: WOW some exciting stuff from the Bunnies. They keep it alive on the last and break the Warriors down the left side. Its knocked on by Souths though.

36 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Superb bit of play by the Kiwi Issac Luke, he scoots out of dummy half and grubbers for himself as he gets to the line. Great regather and inside ball to Manuokafoa. Souths have fought back to take the lead. Luke converts. Conversion attempt by Issac Luke successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-14

40 min: Fien has kicked a 40-20, the Warriors have 22 seconds to manufacture something.

40 min: Hohaia comes the blind and puts a high cutout ball to Crockett. He fumbles it and that takes us to the half. Stay tuned the second half is coming up....

An entertaining half of footy. The Warriors had all the early going with possesion and territory to lead 14-0. The Warriors failed to keep the foot on the throat though, some handling errors in their own half and some great play from Souths have them right back in the box seat.

41 min: We are back underway.

45 min: To and fro to start the second half. Warriors get a PENALTY to put them hot on attack in the red zone.

46 min: Ah Van tries to get up and go again but is hit from behind and drops the ball. Souths SCRUM.

47 min: Superb set from the Rabbits capped off by a lovely chip from Sandow. Repeat set for Souths.

47 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Fien's dropout comes off the side off the boot and is pounced on by Capewell!! He will go through Ropati and Crockett and score an easy meat pie. Conversion attempt by Issac Luke unsuccessful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-14

53 min: Hohaia tries to thread the needle on the last but is dived on by Sandow.

53 min: And a relieving penalty to Souths to get them off their line.

55 min: A kick down to Kirk is ohhhh stripped. Ref has called a drop ball. We go upstairs and see that Sandow 1 on 1 stripped and then Souths knock on.

56 min: Warriors PENALTY puts them in Souths half.

57 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Rovelli with a pin point kick out to Kirk's wing and he goes up and plucks it out of the air. The Warriors hit back off the back of the penalty. Game on. Conversion attempt by Lance Hohaia unsuccessful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-18

60 min: We go upstairs for a look - Warriors may have scored a 100 screamer.

60 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Off the kickoff great runs from Wiki, Mannering, Henderson darts and finds Hohaia who gets it to Fien who grubbers for Crockett. He scores in the corner. try of the match thus far. Conversion attempt by Lance Hohaia unsuccessful. 22 all

62 min: Warriors get another holding down penalty.

64 min: VIDEO REF - Having a look at a Warriors try.

64 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Fien grubbers at the line and it bounces off Sutton and into Sonny Fai, its LOOSE, Ropati dives on the ball and scampers over for a try. Warriors back in front. Conversion attempt by Lance Hohaia successful. New Zealand Warriors 28-22

68 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Ndaira gets out of dummy half with a inside ball to Asotasi, WHAT A BALL to Stuart and the big man dives over. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. 28 all

70 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Sutton busts them on the left side and finds Capewell on the inside who finds Ben Lowe, only the cover to beat and he scores. Great try from the Bunnies. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 34-28

75 min: Fien grubbers early for Crockett, he's got it but is tackled. Warriors go towards the posts but Tuimavave puts it down in the tackle.

78 min: Rovelli puts a bomb up and Merritt FLIES and takes its well.

80 min: FIELD GOAL South Sydney Rabbitohs Chris Sandow caps off a great debut with a Field Goal and a win. South Sydney Rabbitohs 35-28