Full Time
80:00
8:00pm Sat September 17, 2022
Finals Week 2 - Allianz Stadium, Moore Park - Crowd: 39733

Match Overview

South Sydney have shown that they will be this season's dark horse, eliminating the Cronulla Sharks in straight sets by 38-12 in front of a monster crowd at the neutral venue of Allianz Stadium.

The game had a frantic feel to it in the opening stages as both sides tried to feel each-other out. A lazy high shot from Briton Nikora gave Souths the opening chance of the evening. The Rabbitohs didn't have to wait too long when a simple crash ball from Damien Cook allowed Mark Nicholls to charge over to score the first try inside the opening 3 minutes.

From there, the Sharks had majority of the footy through Rabbitohs mistakes. But at every turn, the Rabbitohs were hanging in deep and defending for their finals lives. Up the other end of the field, Souths were showing promising signs to extend their margin. But, the Sharks hung deep and saved certain tries from happening, including holding up Latrell Mitchell in the twenty-second minute.

Eventually, the defensive workload took it's toll and with ten to go before half-time it was the quick hands from Lachlan Ilias, Keaon Koloamatangi and Mitchell who got a great cut out pass to allow to Taane Milne to cross in the right corner and Mitchell converted from the sideline to give the Rabbits an early 12-0 cushion. Right on half-time, the Rabbitohs landed a crucial blow when Cam Murray charged past two poor attempts of tackle from the Sharks and Souths led 18-0 at the break.

Cronulla got the dream start to the second half when they crossed off a Cam Murray error inside the first five minutes on the second half. A clever kick from Hynes was batted back by Ronaldo Mulitalo and Nikora crashed over in the corner to reduce the margin to 12. Off the ensuing set, Hynes kicked the footy dead and off the extra tackle set, the Rabbitohs right hand side showcased some silky skill and Lachlan Ilias crossed to give the Bunnies an 18 point lead.

Cronulla thought they answered back immediately when Jesse Ramien finished off a wonderfully worked play which saw Nikora perform a spectacular flick pass. But, the video ref spotted Ramien as being offside and the try was revoked. Fortunately, the ‘home' side didn't have to wait long when Mitchell's pass was intercepted by Mulitalo and the winger raced 100 meters to reduce the gap to two possessions.

As the Sharks worked their way back into the game, their inability to ice key situations would bring their downfall, key mistakes in the attacking third allowed the Rabbitohs to grab a critical try. Cody Walker timed his impact perfectly when he stepped back on his lethal left boot and regained a critical three converted try lead. From there, another good pass from Ilias saw Milne outmuscle the Sharks left edge to get the Rabbitohs an unassailable 24 point advantage.

The Rabbitohs have a number of injury concerns, Jai Arrow felt a twinge in his groin and failed to finish the game, Alex Johnston left with a hip flexor issue midway through the second half while Siliva Havilli failed to last 20 minutes succumbing to a cork injury. Tevita Tatola is in for a nervous wait from the MRC after being placed on report for a chicken wing. On a positive front, they'll be at their home ground in Accor Stadium next week when they take on the Panthers. For the Sharks, it's a disappointing end to a season that promised so much, but there are promising signs moving forward that will give Sharks fans a lot to look forward to. 

3. Lachlan Ilias

Strong in defence and crossed for a good try. He was in everything which will be such a confidence boost for the young half.

2. Damien Cook

He sparks everything, Cook held the defensive line together playing the full 80 mins.

1. Cameron Murray

His ball playing is a class above for the middle forwards in the game. Crossed for a vital try on half-time.