A late two-try blitz from Cody Walker has guided the South Sydney Rabbitohs to a comeback win over the New Zealand Warriors.
Playing at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, it was the New Zealand Warriors who looked the goods early.
They were eventually chased down by the Rabbitohs with Walker’s two tries gifting the Bunnies a narrow 28-24 win.
A reshuffle forced Peta Hiku to move into the halves and Gerard Beale called upon to play at centre.
The early forced change failed to dampen the Warriors rapid start to the game as captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck led from the front.
After blowing the chance for a try earlier, he made amends as he nabbed the game’s first four-pointer.
A quick-fire Cody Walker double then put Souths ahead as the cardinal and myrtle side began to gain ascendancy.
A rare try for Warriors utility hooker Jazz Tevaga was next, as he darted through the Bunnies line off a Lachlan Burr offload.
The match looked to be wrapped up for the Warriors as a barging Sam Lisone planted the ball down.
Tohu Harris crossed soon after in what looked like a match-winning lead for the Warriors.
It was not to be, however, as that man stood up again. Cody Walker scored two further tries in quick succession to gift the Rabbitohs victory.
His efforts saw him become the first Rabbitohs player to score four tries against the Warriors.
Souths coach Wayne Bennett has been there and done that, so he was not phased when his side was
“Strangely enough, I was more worried long before we were down 24-12,” Bennett said.
“I wasn’t worried when we were down 24-12. There was a lot of time left in the game and we were picking up the momentum we lost.
“The rhythm wasn’t there, it was stop-start, and I said to our assistant coach we’re starting to get back into a groove and we’ll be OK.”
Not blaming the loss of Blake Green as a reason for the loss, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney lamented his side’s lack of game management.
“I couldn’t fault the effort but I thought we weren’t that smart at the back end of sets in the second half,” Kearney said.
“When we got 12 points ahead, we had to manage the game more effectively. We didn’t do that so well and that was frustrating.
“I reckon we had enough occasions to manage the game properly but just failed to do so.
“That’s the NRL, you’ve got to work to the final whistle. Sixty-minute efforts don’t get you the win.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Cody Walker
2. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
- Damien Cook