Hat tricks for both Dane Gagai and Alex Johnston have headlined an 18-point win for the South Sydney club tonight, the Rabbitohs finishing 38-20 winners over Parramatta at Stadium Australia.
The opening minutes set the scene for the Bunnies - opposition forward Oregon Kaufusi copped an early knock in the first set trying to defend, and that put the Eels on the back foot. Souths bagged the opening try a minute later, forcing an error from fullback Clint Gutherson before Damien Cook busted out from the scrumbase from the ensuing scrum, scoring under the sticks.
After opening up like Sydney Heads for the first try, Parramatta's right edge was exposed at the ten minute mark, with Johnston scoring his first try of the night.
The Eels managed to swing the momentum back as the quarter-mark of the match approached, a Crusher Tackle penalty against Cam Murray giving the Eels some free metreage. They took full advantage with fullback Clint Gutherson taking advantage of a lucky bounce following a Jakob Arthur cross-field kick.
Ahead 10-6 and at risk of losing the gains they'd made early, the Rabbitohs took it up a notch. A sin bin against Isaiah Papali'i at 24 minutes for a professional foul gave the home team a numerical advantage and shortly after, Johnston had a double as the Eels' defence crumbled again on the edges.
They didn't extend that lead again until after Papali'i was back on the paddock, but a pre-halftime try to Gagai had Souths doing it easily with a 20-6 margin at the break.
Gagai joined Johnston on two tries shortly after the resumption, the Rabbitohs' dominance extending to a 20-point lead before the Eels struck back through Papali'i at the 56th minute.
The last twenty minutes of the contest saw things open up, with more free-flowing footy allowing both sides to cross the line with ease. Johnston (61st) and Gagai (68th) completed their hat tricks to push the hosts to a 38-10 lead before a late surge from the Eels saw Sivo cross in the corner before an in-and-behind kick from Jakob Arthur dragged the visiting side to 20 points at the end of proceedings.
The win represents a great turnaround for the Bunnies after last weekend's horror loss to Penrith. They have a bye in Round 13 and get back on the park after Origin I. Parramatta now have back-to-back losses and could soon risk their top four spot - they head to Newcastle next Sunday.