South Sydney turned on an even more complete performance tonight to continue their dream NRL run with a solid 32-20 win over Parramatta at ANZ Stadium tonight. While starved of the ball for the first 10 minutes; once the Bunnies got some possession they quickly turned around a 10-0 deficit to stay on top.
While they didn’t have to retrieve the 18 and 24 points of the past two weeks they still managed to recover from their early 10-0 deficit to setup their 5th win on the trot.
Young no.7 Chris Sandow, who has ensured Souths have won every game since his elevation to the top grade game, was the key man in 4 of the Rabbitohs’ 6 touchdowns as Souths extended their longest winning streak in 14 years.
Sandow threw the final pass for 2 tries, was involved in the lead up of another and also set up a 4th with a deft little kick.
The Eels have slumped to their 3rd loss in 4 games after making a hot start. The Eels came out of the blocks flying and showed plenty of energy in attack and defence. But two setbacks soon after were easily enough to break the spirit of the out of form Eels, with energy was good early – they couldn’t cope mentally with some tough calls and as injuries and limited interchanges crept up on them; the Bunnies had well and truly bolted.
Hooker Mark Riddell and winger Jarryd Hayne each crossed inside the first 15 minutes, as the Eels dominated possession and worked an impressive kicking game. In defence the Eels were hitting with meaning, and had Souths pinned in their red-zone for virtually the first 15 minutes of the game.
Souths started their revival in the 16th minute when centre Beau Champion crossed the line despite a slight doubt about the grounding. Video referee Paul Simpkins choosing to award the try despite Champion clearly knocking on as he went over the line. Fox Sports cameras panning to the Souths camp prior to the decision where Russell Crowe and guests looked visually disappointed, then amazed when the green light was awarded by Simpkins.
If the Eels were shaken by the Paul Simpkins Video Referee call, then they were set to get another crushing blow when history repeated itself within minutes. As Souths centre Jamie Simpson crossed from a Sandow kick in the 30th minute, again there was a question mark on the grounding. Replays showed Simpson missing the ball, his hands rolling over the top and ‘separating’ from the Steeden. Again it looked a certain no-try, but Simpkins had made a rod for his own back and to ensure consistency he simply had to award this try and calling the Champion knock-on a try.
The setbacks were too much for a woefully out of form Eels side. Looking more adventurous early with some wide spreading of the ball to a hard running Hindmarsh, but this Parramatta side looked to be mutton dressed up as lamb – as Souths were about to grab them by the throat.
Bunnies livewire halfback was in the mix again for Souths; this time puting Simpson over again five minutes before half time with a precise cut out pass. Sandow dazzled the Eels and had their defence in pieces as he positioned Simpson for the score.
The momentum shift was massive, Souths growing an extra leg and looking sharp with the ball. Their movement in attack was impressive and as they gained field position the kicking game from Sandow got even better. Long kicks were finding open space and short chips or grubbers at the Eels line had them scrambling to cover.
Behind at halftime in six of their seven previous games, Souths proved they could win from in front after the break, despite Parramatta drawing level early in the second half.
Powerful Parramatta centre Krisnan Inu charged onto a pass from five-eighth Feleti Mateo and fullback Luke Burt converted to have the match at 16-all.
The Eels suffered a set back shortly after, when influential playmaker Mateo left the field for 10 minutes with a strained medial ligament.
Souths took control of the game, with Shannan McPherson restoring the Rabbitohs’ lead when he charged over from a Beau Falloon pass.
With Parramatta running out of interchanges, the resurgent Rabbitohs quickly built a match winning margin.
Veteran winger Shannon Hegarty crossed in the left hand corner and Sandow set up a try to hooker Issac Luke to put Souths beyond reach.
Inu scored his second try shortly before the end, but it was little consolation for the well beaten Eels.
SOUTH SYDNEY 32 (J Simpson 2 B Champion S Hegarty I Luke S McPherson tries I Luke 3 C Sandow goals)
PARRAMATTA 20 (K Inu 2 J Hayne M Riddell tries L Burt 2 goals)