South Sydney have continued to put the competition on notice, thumping Parramatta by 40-12 to keep pace with the competition favourites in an impressive performance at CBUS Super Stadium tonight.
Thanks to their lethal left edge combination led by the mercurial Cody Walker, the Rabbitohs managed to reach out to a 14-0 nil lead at halftime before piling on three tries in just 12 minutes to take the game away from the Eels, whose season is now in free fall following their third loss in a row.
The match was billed as a finals preview but if anything, it showed the distance between the top 3 sides and the rest, as the match turned into a training run for Wayne Bennett's men late in the game. It was a special night for South Sydney, with premiership winning halfback Adam Reynolds breaking legendary Souths fullback Eric Simms' 46 year old club record to become the highest ever point-scorer for any player that has worn the cardinal and myrtle since 1908.
The loss for Brad Arthur's men was further soured, with hooker Reed Mahoney leaving the field with what looked to be a serious shoulder injury, which left the livewire hooker in some distress late in the game.
South Sydney opened the scoring in typical fashion down their lethal left edge, when Cody Walker and Dane Gagai combined to put Josh Mansour over untouched. Reynolds converted out wide and it was 6-0 after 18 minutes of play.
The Bunnies then when back to the left for their second try, when Latrell Mitchell delivered a beautiful face ball close to the line and Josh Mansour leapt over inside the corner post for an early double.
Just before the break, Eels hooker Reed Mahoney was penalised for being offside in front of the play the ball and then collecting an offload from Tom Opacic. It was a brutal error, as it was right in front of the posts and against the run of play. Reynolds took the gift two points and it was 14-0 at halftime, with Souths firmly in control.
It was more of the same after the break, when Cody Walker produced a shallow kick on the last close to the line. Dane Gagai then scooped up the ball and slammed it down for the first try of the second half. A piece of history then occurred for the club, when Reynolds converted the try to become the highest all time point-scorer in the clubs history and extend his sides lead to 20-0.
Souths then flexed their muscle, scoring successive tries through winger Jaxson Paulo and then lock forward Cameron Murray, who dived over following a neat offload from Keaon Koloamatangi close to the line and shut out the game at 32-0.
Parramatta finally registered some points on the scoreboard following a handy offload from Nathan Brown in the attacking zone, which found Bryce Cartwright who shifted it wide for Maika Sivo to score his 17th try of the season. The Eels then made it back-to-back tries, when Mitch Moses produced a big left foot step to break the line and the Blues half then showed the composure to then kick the ball ahead for Waqa Blake who scored a great try for the Blue and Golds.
It was too little too late however for Parramatta when Adam Reynolds then kicked his second penalty goal which was quickly followed by a second try for Jaxson Paulo to give his side a convincing 40-12 win.
South Sydney will now face the Titans in Round 22 next Saturday afternoon, while Parramatta will face fierce rivals Manly in what now proves a pivotal game in the Eels season on Saturday night.