The Bunnies continued their winning ways earlier today, coming from behind to snatch a 22-16 win over the NZ Warriors in Auckland.
The Rabbits overcoming a 4 point half-time deficit to run away with it in the 2nd half, their attack again combining well to secure a good away win.
One of the Kiwi’s returned home to do the damage over his hometown, Fetuli Talanoa a standout for Souths, getting himself a penalty try in the 1st term and a run away long range touchdown later in the match.
With nearly 20,000 on hand in Auckland, it was a good home showing for the Warriors – who were keen to erase the memories of last weeks ambush loss at the hands of the Broncos.
Already decimated by injury, it was always going to be a big ask for the Warriors who turned to Stacey Jones several times for answers in todays game.
But anything creative the Warriors threw at Souths, it was being shut down. The Rabbitohs flexing their defensive muscle and keeping their line in tact for the most part. Their scrambling in certainly situations was impressive as they turned away several strong Warriors raids.
With his team missing several veterans, Jones answered the call – laying on an early try for flanker Aiden Kirk from a dropped ball.
The early play continued with New Zealand, this time Michael Luck taking a nice offload from hooker Ian Henderson to crash over the try line for a 4 pointer.
As Souths warmed to the contest, it was livewire back Luke Capewell who got their first touchdown. Capewell continuing his good showing from last week, he is a player that always looks willing and has the enthusiasm to go with his ability.
Capewell breaking the NZ line to score the try for his side.
With just over 10 minutes to go before half time – Souths levelled the scores with a controversial penalty try after Kirk’s tackle on Fetuli Talanoa. The decision going the Bunnies way as they continued their resurgence.
But it was Jones again for the home side late in the first term, setting up an opportunity for flying fullback Wade McKinnon to get over right on the bell. The try giving the NZ side a good lift before the break, with many feeling it would be enough to get them the edge in the 2nd term.
The 2nd half was an arm wrestle early, with points not coming until half an hour in – it was Talanoa again terrorising his home country-men, taking in a Stacey Jones bomb defensively and then sprinting the length of the field to get his side in the hunt.
The try against the run of play really took the wind out of the New Zealand Warriors side.
With less than 10 to go, Souths’ try scoring machine Nathan Merritt cashed in with a touchdown to seal the deal.
The only concern for the Bunnies was an injury to Shaun Corrigan – the rookie carted off to hospital with a suspected broken foot.
After the match, Souths’ coach Jason Taylor made special mention of his teams defensive effort. Confirming their showing was all the better, considering the sheer amount of tackling that had to be done.
Taylor feeling this win was one of the more complete efforts from his side over the whole 80 minutes.
The other aspect Taylor was happy with was the mindset from his side, he felt with Souths’ getting behind early – it might have been too big of a mountain to climb in previous years. However the side kept their focus and did the job they needed to do.
For NZ, coach Ivan Cleary was frustrated at his teams lack of attacking ability when pushing into the Souths redzone. Concerned his side had so much ball, but just couldn’t turn it into tries.
Cleary also making comment on the ability of Souths’ in defence, the ultimate compliment to the in-form Bunnies.
They’ll need to be on their game however, with the Rabbitohs away to another team in-form – the Bulldogs. Setting up what should be a juicy clash between the two physical sides.
For the NZ Warriors, they too have a tough away trip. Heading to Energy Australia Stadium to face the Knights, who will be full of confidence after toppling last years NRL Premiers Manly earlier today.