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16 hours ago | Adam Huxtable
Souths exploded out of the blocks to take a 20-0 lead before the Sharks spirited second half almost turned the match on its head, but the Bunnies held on for a 32-22 victory in the fourth match of NRL Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium.
Benji Marshall earnt Souths a repeat set in the 5th minute and in the next set he produced his trademark goosestep and then popped a short ball in the defensive line to Keaon Koloamatangi who strolled through a gap to score on the left edge. Adam Reynolds converted.
Benji's kicking game forced two more repeat sets for the Sharks, the second of which caught Chad Townsend offside. Souths were awarded a penalty and Reynolds kicked a penalty goal.
In the 18th minute Marshall again was involved as he produced another of his trademark moves, the drift sideways, straighten with a step and then throw a no-look cut-out pass, which found Alex Johnston, who dived over to score in the left corner. Reynolds sideline conversion was perfect.
In the 27th minute Jayden Su'A was sent to the sin bin for high contact on Aaron Woods. Despite being short in numbers, the Rabbitohs added another try just a minute later. Dane Gagai got outside Josh Dugan, skipped clear of his diving tackle attempt and then turned the ball back inside to Cody Walker in support who raced 30 metres to score. Reynolds converted and after 31 minutes, Souths lead 20-0.
Four minutes prior to the break, Cronulla got themselves on the board when Chad Townsend ran to the line and held up a nice ball for Will Kennedy, who ran into a gap at pace and raced 30 metres to score under the posts. Townsend converted to reduce the deficit to 14 points at halftime.
The Sharks scored again in the 60th minute when Andrew Fifita picked up a loose ball on the Souths line and flicked a lovely ball to Aaron Woods who fell over the line to score. Townsend converted to reduce the margin to 8 points.
Seven minutes later, Matt Moylan running freely, drifted left and hit Briton Nikora running a gorgeous line back in towards the posts and he scored a lovely try. Townsend's conversion attempt was waved away.
The final 6 minutes was a frenzy of points. In the 74th minute, Tevita Tatola attempted to barge over for a try but was held short, however he somehow got a ball to Walker who scored under the posts. Reynolds converted.
With 3 minutes left in the game, Souths crossed again when Jai Arrow taking a ruck run back in towards the posts, managed to push out of some tired tackles before crashing over for a try to the left of the uprights. Reynolds added the extras.
Finally, with fulltime looming, the Sharks produced a lovely play off the back of a scrum which resulted in Kennedy sending Mawene Hiroti over for a clever try in the left corner. Townsend's sideline conversion shaved the posts but still went over the crossbar, to reduce the deficit to 10.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22 - South Sydney Rabbitohs 32
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 6 South Sydney Rabbitohs 20
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cody Walker
2 points - Benji Marshall
1 points - Matt Moylan
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (22)
Tries: Will Kennedy, Aaron Woods, Briton Nikora, Mawene Hiroti
Conversions: Chad Townsend (3/4)
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (32)
Tries: Keaon Koloamatangi, Alex Johnston, Cody Walker (2), Jai Arrow
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (5/5)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (1/1)