Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
7 hours ago
The Sydney Roosters broke the hearts of the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium in a Monday night thriller tonight, winning 24-20 in front of 18,278 boisterous supporters. The Rabbitohs led their cross town rivals by 20 points to 18 before the Bondi boys stormed home with just minutes to go. The game will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of new Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire, after they virtually had the game won after 77 minutes.
An early mistake that came about after a poor pass from the Rabbitohs' five eighth John Sutton led to the Roosters scoring their first points early on. After just six minutes, disgraced former-Eel Daniel Mortimer slotted over the conversion scored via Lama Tasi.
Six minutes later a bit of confusion led to a Michel Crocker try after a sudden tap. Prior to the try a kick from Roosters Halfback Mitchell Pearce was charged down, handing Sutton the ball on the halfway line. From there they worked their way up field before beefy David Taylor threatened to post his clubs first points on the board. However, a penalty was awarded, which Inglis took swiftly, leading to the Rabbitohs' first try.
The first half showed a Melbourne Storm-like flavour as tries to Rabbitoh Chris McQueen and Rooster Guerra emulated what Storm superstars Cooper Cronk and Israel Folau once did so well. The Roosters than conceded a handful of penalties which led to debutant Adam Reynolds knocking over a conversion sending the game to a 12-12 dead lock at half time.
After the break the Sydney Roosters could not find any momentum or enthusiasm as the South Sydney Rabbitohs begun to rev up. The Redfern boys played out of their skin during the first 20 minute period of the second half, but still could not put the final nail in the coffin. John Sutton finally broke the deadlock with a dummy pass left, followed by some individual brilliance ten metres from the line, which saw the Bunnies head to an 18-12 lead.
Four minutes later Adam Reynolds added two extra points following a penalty in the 50th minute as the Roosters and Rabbitohs broke out into a cold war. A lot was happening but every time either side got into great field position, their opponents would defend them well, a break down would occur or they would just simply lack an answer.
It will be a game that Roosters back Boyd Cordner will want to forget but also remember as he was instrumental in the final stages of the match. After rookie errors and bad last tackle options, at 20-18, Cordner found himself on the attack 30 metres from the line. He had Anothny Minichello on his inside but opted to kick ahead, an option he had already used to no success, as the luck of the bounce saw the ball fall into Anthony Minichello's arms as the he scooted away to score next to the posts on the stroke of fulltime.
The Bunnies are left licking their wounds now but will face a stern test in Melbourne against the Storm on Sunday night, while the Roosters host the Penrith Panthers next Sunday afternoon.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 were defeated by Sydney Roosters 24
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Monday March 5, 2012 7:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Adam Devcich and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Tim Mander
Touch Judges: Gavin Reynolds and Dave Munro
Halftime: South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Sydney Roosters 12
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (20)
Tries: John Sutton, Michael Crocker, Chris McQueen
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (2/2)
SYDNEY ROOSTERS (24)
Tries: Anthony Minichiello, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Aiden Guerra, Lama Tasi
Conversions: Daniel Mortimer (4/4)
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We're underway for the first Monday Night Football game of 2012.
1 min: And We have kick off with Roosters in possession
2 min: Merritt makes a mistake and Roosters on the attack 50 metres out
Roosters: Braith Anasta out, Daniel Mortimer will make his Roosters debut, Mitchell Aubusson becomes captain and Anthony Mitchell comes onto the bench, at the expense of Peni Tagive.
Rabbitohs: Nathan Merritt out, Chris McQueen onto the wing and Feleti Talanoa onto the bench.
3 min: Roosters knock on 5 metres from the line in great attacking position
4 min: Knock on after a terrible pass from John Sutton
6 min: TRY Connecticut Wildcats
AND THE ROOSTERS HAVE A TRY!
Sydney Roosters 6-0
6 min: This is Joshua Wells here with you for Monday Night Football. 10 min: Roosters just going through the motions as an awkward kick from Pearce goes dead in goal; Dave Taylor makes solid metres up field
10 min: Asotasi given a short ball from Peats but he just could not hang on in the pressure 5 metres from the line
12 min: Pearce under pressure miskicks as Sutton has the ball on the halfway line
13 min: TRY
Crocker scores after a quick tap and the commentators love it! Taylor threatens to score before receiving penalty, Inglis taps and Crocker is in!
16 min: Adam Reynolds kicks the ball out on the fall; Roosters get the ball just over the 40 in their own half
18 min: Penalty to give Souths a let off out of their own half
19 min: TRY
TRY! Cronk-Folau type play as Adam Reynolds kicks the ball to Chris McQueen scores, he athletically leaps for the ball! Reynolds can't convert.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10-6
21 min: No goal! Reynolds 1/2 attempts, as the Roosters give the ball back to Souths through the kick off; Asotasi bringing it to the 20 metre line
22 min: Souths give away a Penalty as a 'canon' ball tackle accusation is made by South Sydney
23 min: TRY
Pearce and Guerra emulate the try by Souths as Guerra scores next to the posts; immediately following the a No Try video ref decision. Mortimer converts.
Sydney Roosters 12-10
26 min: Sutton kicks down the throat as Minichello brings the Roosters back up to their 40 metre stripe
27 min: All momentum gone as Perrett makes a mistake
28 min: the kick is too big from Reynolds; 20 tap for Roosters
29 min: David Taylor penalised for a dangerous tackle
30 min: Sydney Roosters have been training in Melbourne as they use one of the Storm's famous play! One metre out as the tackle count is restarted
31 min: Aubusson is held up by the Bunnies! NO TRY, RED LIGHT DISTRICT
32 min: Farrell does well to take a Leilua kick as he JUST gets back into the field of play as they receive a Penalty! up too fast are Brian Smith's boys!
32 min: Yet another penalty conceded after a charge down goes wrong for the Roosters. Penalty kick to come
33 min: PENALTY GOAL
Easy conversion 14 metres from the sticks, right in front.
35 min: The Rabbitohs revving up! Big hits, great line speed
35 min: The Rabbitohs scares a mistake out of Guerra
37 min: Inglis passes to King as Matt virtually bombs a try
38 min: The bunnies will get one last crack at the Roosters in this first half
38 min: Three mistakes in a row. In other news the referees and commentators are in fine form
39 min: This game is a nightmare for most fantasy coaches
40 min: HALFTIME: Greg Inglis crunches Mitch Aubusson as the two teams hit to the sheds! Was that sportsman like or do you think it was okay? Tell us in the forums!
Rabbitohs and Roosters are 12-all at the break. 41 min: Both teams are on the field, the whistle has been blown and we are under way as Bondi and Redfern return to war; Rabbitohs have the pill
44 min: King tries to rectify his mistake with a great kick return for the Rabbitohs
44 min: Pearce tries to smash Inglis but ends up on his backside!
45 min: Former Raider Justin Carney catches the attacking kick; 20 tap
46 min: ANOTHER LOST BALL! Battle of the butter fingers
48 min: TRY
John Sutton gives Souths the lead after some great solo work! Adam Reynolds converts
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-12
49 min: Shallow kick off caught by the Rabbitohs and they are in great field position
49 min: Dropped kick
50 min: Roosters give away another penalty and Adam Reynolds will have the oppertunity to give the bunnies an 8 point lead
50 min: PENALTY GOAL
35 metre penalty kick; check that off your bucket list Adam
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20-12
52 min: Minichello absolutley smashed as Burgess comes up with another big hit. Sam is playing well!
54 min: Fifth tackle breaks down for the bunnies but nevertheless great signs are being shown
55 min: Souths put a great set on display; what can the Roosters do? 20 tap
57 min: Pearce trying to contain the Bunnies here! Kicks for the line as the Rabbitohs have a scrum 10 metres from their line.
58 min: Penalty Souths! Dangerous tackle! A bit of controversy!
59 min: and the Bunnies cull any momentum they had! Scrum Roosters 35 out
60 min: Penalty as Minichello takes out Farrell in the air! In a very very awkward situation! 8 Metres from Souths' line
62 min: The Englishman loses the ball 40 out from the Sydney line!
63 min: King defuses a simple bomb; the Roosters need a shake up
65 min: After an interesting period of play, Mortimer ends this chance for a revival
68 min: Crocker gives away a penalty for "working his arm" First second half penalty for Roosters
70 min: Cordner takes the wrong option 5 out from the Bunnies line as the rabbitohs get the ball back after the sixth tackle. Time is running out.
71 min: Taleona charges the ball back at Mortimer as the Rabbitohs have it in good field position
72 min: The ball is left to bounce as Corrigan takes it to ground on the last forcing a hand over
73 min: Cordner once again takes the wrong option. His winger runs offside and he places a kick in, which goes over the sideline, to give the Rabbitohs a scrum 30 from the Bunnies line
74 min: Dave Taylor concedes a penalty as the Roosters kick for touch; tap from 40 from their own line
76 min: The Roosters are struggling as King brings the kick return into the chooks defence
76 min: Reynolds soaking up the time as he boots it dead in goal
77 min: Pettybourne throws himself at Justin Carney as he concedes a penalty for a lazy arm!
79 min: TRY
Tensions are high as a push and shove session is broken up! Mortimer converts
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20-18
79 min: ANTHONY MINICHIELLO COULD HAVE WON THE GAME FOR THE SYDNEY ROOSTERS AFTER AN AMAZING ON THE RUN KICK BY CORDNER! VIDEO REF!
80 min: TRY
THE ROOSTERS WIN THE GAME ON THE DEATH AS MINICHIELLO SCORES THE POINTS THROUGH SPEED! scoring twice in the final three minutes of the match, the Roosters win as the game draws to an amazing end!
Sydney Roosters 24-20