Full Time
7:55pm Fri July 9, 2021
Round 17 - McDonald Jones Stadium, New Lambton - Crowd: 3127

Match Overview

Alex Johnston and Taane Milne both collected hat-tricks but it was Cody Walker who stole the show for South Sydney in their dominant win over North Queensland.

Having a hand in three tries and five line breaks, the dynamic five-eighth played a central role as the Rabbitohs overcame a ten-point deficit to maintain third position on the ladder with a 46-18 victory in Newcastle. 

After a measured opening from both sides where penalty goals were exchanged, a bat back from Coen Hess allowed Tom Dearden (16th minute) to race 20 metres for the opening four-pointer.

Going further ahead after Jason Taumalolo exposed the Rabbitohs defence through the middle, an exchange of passing involving Reece Robson and Daejarn Asi enabled Shane Wright (20th minute) to establish a 12-2 lead.

Hitting back through rookie playmaker Blake Taaffe (24th minute) following an instinctive kick from Johnston, the Rabbitohs assumed the ascendancy with Walker setting up three tries in the final ten minutes of the first half.

Sending Taane Milne (31st and 35th minutes over for his first career double in quick succession, a third pass saw Johnston (38th minute) put on the afterburners to give the Rabbitohs a 22-12 lead at the change of ends.

Opening the second half in identical form as the first with a penalty goal, Johnston (49th minute) showed pace and determination to collect his second.

Tom Burgess (58th minute) put the result beyond doubt by charging through the Cowboys' feeble defence and celebrated his four-pointer by emulating Greg Inglis' iconic goanna routine.

Having crossed for only three tries in the five years since debuting in the top grade, Milne (67th minute) doubled his career tally with a hat-trick after running onto a brash tap on from Walker.

Bringing up their biggest ever total against North Queensland courtesy of a lovely cut-out ball from Benji Marshall to Johnston (70th minute), a consolation effort from Kyle Feldt (77th minute) saw South Sydney run out convincing 46-18 winners.

Next week, the Rabbitohs will host the Bulldogs on Sunday evening, while the Cowboys will return to Townsville on Saturday night to take on the Roosters.

3. Cody Walker

After being overlooked for State of Origin III, the star five-eighth showed no ill effects with a performance that oozed class.

2. Hame Sele

Running for over 100 metres, producing 29 tackles and setting up a try for good measure, the underrated forward made the most of a rare starting appearance.

1. Alex Johnston

Moving to the top of the try-scorers list with a hat-trick, Johnston once again proved his worth as a professional try scorer.