It might be the Origin period but you still would have expected the South Sydney Rabbitohs to defeat the Wests Tigers, right?
Well, that did not eventuate. Instead, the Tigers took the game out 14-9 at Bankwest Stadium after a last-gasp solo effort from utility Michael Chee-Kam.
It compounds a disappointing period for the Rabbitohs who have now lost four on the trot and are likely to be without George Burgess for a while.
The English prop was put on report for an eye gouge on Tigers hooker Robbie Farah, after the veteran made a complaint to referee Adam Gee.
It may be a lengthy stint on the sidelines for Burgess, who missed four weeks for an eye gouge while playing for New Zealand last year.
“I thought it was more on the forehead,” Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett said after the clash.
“I can certainly say that [it was ill-disciplined], there was certainly no need for him to put himself in that position for a start.
“I’m not condemning him for it in the sense that I’m not sure if his fingers made contact with the eye or not.”
It would be the Tigers who took the lead on the back of the Burgess eye gouge, with Esan Marsters slotting the penalty goal.
The Rabbitohs hit back with their own penalty goal soon after to lock the scores up at 2-apiece.
The first try also went to the Rabbitohs as Braidon Burns bust through to send Corey Allan under the posts.
Although they slowly gained the upper-hand, they eventually lost it, with the Rabbitohs error total piling up.
This allowed the Tigers an opportunity to strike and they did, with Corey Thompson scoring off a Luke Brooks grubber.
Both teams rallied to try and score more points but all that came was an Adam Reynolds field goal in the 74th minute.
Chee-Kam would then take matters into his own hands, though, as he broke the line and raced forty metres to score.
Tigers coach Michael Maguire was pleased with his side’s tenacity and resilience and hopes they use that momentum moving forward.
“I think the way they fought is what I’ll take away from tonight,” Maguire said post-game.
“We’re in a position with where we are on the ladder that if we want to do something in this competition we have to keep coming up with wins like that.
“I really hope the boys take belief out of what we’re doing at the moment. We’re really finding ugly ways to win.”
A lack of execution has been the Rabbitohs primary problem in recent times, and coach Wayne Bennett knows it.
“That’s been our problem the last couple of weeks, just executing. We had a lot of opportunities tonight, we made more line breaks than they did but just didn’t finish them,” Bennett said.
“I’m not happy obviously but it is what it is so we’ve just got to go back and get, stay at it and get everyone on board.
“I know what works so I’ve got to get them knowing what works as well.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Michael Chee-Kam
2. Braidon Burns
- Corey Thompson