NRL Round 24, 2007

South Sydney Rabbitohs 37 def Wests Tigers 12

Roy Asotasi will surely be straight on the phone tonight to old mate Willie Mason. The Bulldogs big man sledging former teammate Asotasi when he left Belmore, saying Asotasi will never play NRL finals football again after joining long time strugglers South Sydney.

How wrong Willie was. The high profile Bulldogs forward now having a serious case of foot in mouth disease as Asostasi has helped carry the new look Bunnies into the NRL finals for the first time since 1989.

Not even the 20,000 unofficial crowd could cheer home their Wests Tigers. They literally climbed trees, sat on top of houses and grabbed any vantage point they could – the official crowd will never tell the true story. It was a flashback to many, many years ago – the script was set perfectly for the local lads.

South Sydney didn’t care in the least, crashing the party big time – showing ball movement we haven’t seen from them before as the lowest ranked attacking team in the NRL put on a show. The points flowed continually for the Rabbitohs, even losing fullback Nathan Merrit early and having to reshuffle their backline didnt stop their cohesion and momentum.

Whether they attacked down the edge, through the middle or via a high kick – Souths were winning every single department. Superior tactics, direct execution and again solid defence would have coach Jason Taylor stoked with their progress again today.

Not only do the Bunnies slip into the finals for 2007 – on today’s form they would worry any team in the finals mix; so they aren’t planning to just make up the numbers. Beating high flyers Manly last week and now blowing the Tigers away in their own backyard has really boosted the confidence of the new look club, surely giving them huge belief.

The Wests Tigers defence today was horrible. Their line defence and communication were poor for the majority of the match. Gaps were opening both sides of the ruck, as Tigers plays lost confidence in each other and overplayed their hand at times. Daniel Fitzhenry looking a little lost several times as the wide running Souths big men in Widders and Buddy Gordon steamed down his edge.

Roy Asotasi was his usual strong self, ably assisted by new boy Greenfield in the forwards – the rookie Rabbit looking to be a good find for the club. Joe Williams was instrumental in most of the Souths tries – the classy half sadly off to France next season and lost to the NRL. Talanoa was a real standout for the Bunnies as was Widders and Sutton.

Facing the Roosters next week and achieving some good points difference today, depending on results – the Rabbits could even be perched higher in the Top 8 and be able to mount a good assault on the finals. Surely David Peachey will be back in the top grade at fullback, with Nathan Merrit’s injury looking nasty.

For the Wests Tigers, they knew how important the match was – sadly they didn’t lift. Robbie Farah being lost early after pain needles failed to do the job on his hip. With the Broncos winning the Tigers must win well next week and hope the Eels topple the Broncos on Sunday.

By ricky

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