A Robert Jennings quartet of tries has helped the South Sydney Rabbitohs to their seventh successive win of the season after a 42-24 victory over the Parramatta Eels in front of just 8,047 fans at ANZ Stadium.
The Parramatta Eels were looking to make it back to back wins after their successful trip to Darwin and they started off in the best possible fashion in just the fourth minute when Josh Hoffman claimed a try after a good cross-field kick from Corey Norman was dropped by Hymel Hunt. After initially being denied by a live call of No Try by referee Gerard Sutton, replays cleared Hoffman of touching the ball after it was put down by Hunt and the try was awarded by Jared Maxwell in the bunker.
The Rabbitohs quickly wiped the Eels lead when - for the first of many times - the Parramatta right-side defence was caught in no-man's land after Michael Jennings rushed up leaving his brother George isolated in defence as the other Jennings brother Robert scored the first of his four-try haul for the evening. The Eels were quick to bounce back to the lead after getting back to back sets on the Souths line - and in a mirror image to the previous scoring play, the Rabbitohs' outside defence rushed up, and left George Jennings to get one back over Robert Jennings.
Parramatta were able to build a dominant stretch of possession through the middle of the first half and they used that dominance to their advantage when Bevan French scored after a good ball from Corey Norman sent Peni Terepo through a gaping hole in the Souths defensive line, before handing the ball on to French to score (despite Terepo looking likely to get there himself).
The 8 point deficit wasn't anything to be concerned about for South Sydney as they began to even out possession late in the first half touching down for two tries. The first of the two tries came through Robert Jennings which was almost a replay of his first try when the Eels' defence rushed up following a Rabbitohs' scrum on the attack 10 metres out. The cardinal and myrtle then regained the lead in the 36th minute when Cody Walker took advantage of George and Michael Jennings being caught centre-field having made a tackle the previous play, chipping in behind the line after - for some inexplicable reason - Bevan French shot from fullback through the defensive line. The chip was perfect and Alex Johnston had his first of the night and Souths had the lead at the break.
The second half didn't start at all well for the Eels, with Nathan Brown dropping a ball early on and rookie hooker Reed Mahoney being put on report for a crusher tackle, despite replays showing almost no difference between that tackle and one that was let go by the officials in the first half on Josh Hoffman. The Rabbitohs took advantage of their mounting possession when yet again the Parramatta defence decided to rush up out of the line for no reason on Angus Crichton (who was covered), leaving Alex Johnston a massive hole to go through to score his second try of the match. South Sydney then added another quick try after again shifting the ball from one side of the field to the other, as they went from right to left after a tap from a penalty and Robert Jennings again was on the outside of his brother George and was in for try number three of the night.
The game was yet to reach the hour mark and the Rabbitohs were looking to make it a big score, adding another try in the 57th minute when Cody Walker attacked the line, holding the ball up to find Adam Reynolds who then found his right side backs - Hymel Hunt got down low and scored in the right hand corner. Just after the hour mark Robert Jennings completed his quartet when Souths changed up their scrum plays - instead of spinning it out to Jennings straight from the scrum they took a settler first tackle before then pushing it out to the left hand side and again Jennings was able to get on the outside of his brothers to score. The final Bunnies try came with just under 15 minutes to go when Tom Burgess became the only forward to score all night, after a Damien Cook kick was played at by Parramatta and Tom got the ball off a Reynolds pass and the big Englishman scored under the posts.
Parramatta added two consolation tries in the last 12 minutes with the first coming from a smart kick from Bevan French who chipped over the top and an unlucky bounce of the ball for Alex Johnston, but sat up perfectly for Jarryd Hayne who scored. The Eels then added some more respectability to the scoreboard when Corey Norman found Josh Hoffman with a good face ball to score in the corner. The Rabbitohs capped off their victory with a penalty goal 90 seconds from the siren to take a 42-24 victory.
Next weekend both the Eels and Rabbitohs get the weekend off with the representative weekend taking place, the weekend after the Eels travel to Wollongong to take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium whilst the South Sydney Rabbitohs have their annual trip to Cairns when they host the Cowboys on the Sunday afternoon.