Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
South Sydney are clear leaders at the top of the NRL ladder following an impressive 32-16 win over the Wests Tigers, the win coming despite a potentially serious injury to Adam Reynolds.
The Bunnies came into the match in first spot and they were looking to put their stamp on the game and make sure they kept their position at the summit. They opened the scoring after just ten minutes when Adam Reynolds kicked a penalty goal to go 2-0 up.
The home side continued to dominate field position and possession and they took full advantage when Cam Murray was charging onto a good pass and the Rabbitohs' lock scored under the sticks. Souths went to the dreaded 14-0 scoreline when Adam Reynolds drifted across the field and then split the Wests Tigers line with a dummy to score himself.
The visitors were able to close the gap to eight when Benji Marshall turned back the clock with a beautiful inside ball onto fullback Corey Thompson, who flew through a gap to score. The Tigers then tightened things further as Esan Marsters flew through the air to take a great catch from a Luke Brooks kick, scoring his side's second. After converting his own try, Marsters moved the score to 14-12, the Rabbitohs' lead shrinking dramatically.
Things turned bad for Souths shortly after when Reynolds suffered a serious-looking injury after getting his leg caught underneath teammate Mark Nicholls. Despite trying to play on, he had to come from the field after not being able to put full pressure on his leg. His departure didn't hurt Souths' chances though, as they added one more try before the break through Damien Cook, who showed too much skill out of dummy half, diving over for his side's third try.
The Rabbitohs took a 20-12 lead into the break but they quickly pushed it out to 26-12 after play resumed, with Liam Knight scoring under the posts after Cook attracted defenders out of dummy half and the interchange forward went through a yawning gap to score. Gagai took over the kicking and converted truly.
If Benji Marshall had turned back the clock once already, he did it again on the 50th minute to enhance his side's prospects of a come-from-behind win when he slid across the field and got the Souths defence in two minds and Benji being Benji - scored to bring it back to 26-16 after Marsters failed to convert.
The final try for Souths was one of confusion for many, when Murray scored a try after Cook kicked out of dummy half, only for it to ricochet off a couple of players and Murray finished in the right spot to ground the ball. The live decision of 'No Try' was expected to be upheld but after a long review, the Bunker gave the all-clear to the try and Cam Murray had his second.
Wests Tigers had a couple of late chances but they coughed up the ball on more than one occasion and Souths held on to their 32-16 victory. Next weekend, South Sydney go to Bankwest Stadium to take on the Parramatta Eels on Friday night whilst the Tigers have a bye ahead of Origin I.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 - Wests Tigers 16
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Halftime Score: South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 Wests Tigers 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Damien Cook
2 points - Benji Marshall
1 points - Corey Thompson
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (32)
Tries: Adam Reynolds, Cameron Murray (2), Damien Cook, Liam Knight
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (2/2), Dane Gagai (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (1/1)
WESTS TIGERS (16)
Tries: Corey Thompson, Esan Marsters, Benji Marshall
Conversions: Esan Marsters (2/3)