The South Sydney Rabbitohs took on the Newcastle Knights in the second elimination final of 2020.
The winner would move on to face the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium next week while the loser would be eliminated.
The Knights got the fastest start they could get.
A very early Souths knock on lead to Hymel Hunt crossing the stripe in the right corner.
Kalyn Ponga converted to put the Knights up 6-0.
They continued this fast start a few minutes later.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon was sent through a hole and gave it to Bradman Best who beat the fullback to score in the left corner.
Kalyn Ponga again converted to extend the lead to 12-0.
A penalty goal in the Knights favour would see them extend their lead to 14-0.
It took some time but the Rabbitohs were finally on the scoreboard when Corey Allan broke through the line.
A couple of minutes later, Souths scored again.
This time it was Cody Walker wrapping around Adam Reynolds to get put through a hole and score.
Adam Reynolds was only able to convert one of the tries to cut the Knights lead to just four.
The Rabbitohs looked like they were starting to score at will as Alex Johnston scored in the left corner to get Souths’ third in 8 minutes.
Adam Reynolds missed so the score remained 14-all.
Damien Cook made a break from dummy-half and Cameron Murray was in support to get his name on the scoresheet.
The first points in the second half came via the boot of Adam Reynolds as he slotted a penalty goal.
As the final quarter of the game neared, the Rabbitohs would put the game almost completely out of reach.
Tevita Tatola powered over under the posts to get Souths’ fifth try in a row.
Ken Irvine Medallist Alex Johnston would then get his double and close out the game for the Rabbitohs
Adam Reynolds kicked the conversion from the sideline to make the lead 34-14.
Tevita Tatola crossed the line for a rare first-grade double to cap off his stellar performance.
Adam Reynolds converted again to make the lead 40-14.
A quickfire double for Souths then saw Damien Cook pick up a dropped ball and run 80 metres to score the Rabbitohs’ eighth try.
Dane Gagai converted to put the Rabbitohs up 46-20.
On the final buzzer, Hymel Hunt got a consolation try in the corner to get his double.
Aidan Guerra kicked a sideline goal to finish his career with a 46-20 loss.
Although disappointed with the loss, Knights coach Adam O’Brien said the need for greater depth to support his stars was a must for 2021.
“This bloke [Pearce], that’s who it hurt the most,” O’Brien said.
“He had a different No.9 each week, or a different No.6 and they had different skill sets so that put more pressure on him to run the team.
“That’s one thing I’ve got to identify over the summer is our best attack and how we can get our strike players to get the ball in good positions to help Junior out.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Tevita Tatola
2. Damien Cook
- Alex Johnston