In a grudge match for the ages, the South Sydney Rabbitohs proved too good against the under-performing Brisbane Broncos.
Missing coach Wayne Bennett due to bio security breaches, the Rabbitohs gave themselves some breathing room in the top eight.
The Rabbitohs continued the Broncos recent poor record against them by recording their ninth victory in their past eleven meetings.
The early exchanges from both teams were full of unforced errors which stopped either team from asserting their authority.
It took thirteen minutes for the first points to recorded on the score board and Dane Gagai drew first blood.
From a set piece, the play-makers found Alex Johnston who in turn found the flying Gagai to beat Xavier Coates to score in the corner.
Adam Reynolds kicked a great conversion from out wide to give the Rabbitohs the early lead 6-0.
Only three minutes later, the Rabbitohs extended their lead by a successful penalty goal to Reynolds.
The Broncos then responded very well with a try to Herbie Farnworth 21 minutes into the game.
After quick hands from Brodie Croft and Darius Boyd, Farnworth had an easy run to the line to get the Broncos on the board.
Kotoni Staggs converted the centre’s try to make the score 8-6 in favour of the Rabbitohs.
Rookie Jaxson Paulo kicked into the in-goal and Reynolds, who was the man of the match, won the race to the ball.
Reynolds converted his own try to the take the Rabbitohs out to a 14-6 lead.
The Rabbitohs would score again on the back of a high tackle deep inside their own half.
From the ensuing tap, Damien Cook found Mark Nicholls who beat two Broncos defenders to score a very easy try.
Reynolds converted from in front of the posts to give the Rabbitohs a comfortable 20-6 buffer at the break.
The Broncos needed to be the first to score in the second half to stay in the game and they did exactly that.
David Fifita who was returning from a long injury lay off powered his way to the line.
A clever Tom Dearden pass meant that Fifita was never going to be stopped from close range.
Staggs missed the conversion for the score to remain at 20-10 with 36 minutes remaining.
The Broncos were penalised for taking a Rabbitohs kick chaser out and the score went out to 22-10.
The score could have been extended in favour of the Rabbitohs again but they were disallowed a try from the bunker.
Thomas Burgess proved that from close range big men are hard to stop and he scored a rare four-pointer.
With Cook jumping out of dummy-half, Burgess ran into a great hole to be two defenders to plant the ball in the in-goal.
Reynolds again kicked the easy conversion to blow the game wide open with a 28-10 lead.
The score remained 28-10 until the full-time siren sounded and the Rabbitohs recorded only their tenth victory over the Broncos in the NRL era.
Cook was very happy with the result with the forwards getting up and down the field to set the platform throughout the game.
This helped the halves having a great game to put pressure on the Broncos all over the field.
Broncos prop Matt Lodge believes that good times will come if the side continues to play for each other.
“It’s going to get better,” Lodge said.
“It’s like a reality TV show. Everyone is coming at us at the moment and we just love playing. We just need to get rid of that stuff and stick together.
“It will be good to show those guys what it’s like to be winning in Brisbane because there is no better feeling and at the moment it is not happening.”
Bennett, watching from phone due to his isolation, phoned acting head coach Jason Demetriou to praise the players.
“He just said congratulations, the boys did a great job,” Demetriou said.
“Everything we spoke about during the week was about putting them inside their 20 and taking our chances when we got on the tryline. The boys did that well.
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