South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have defeated the New Zealand Warriors 42-12 in a high-scoring affair at Bankwest Stadium.

Entering the clash at two wins apiece, both teams were desperate to claim another two points to avoid losing touch with the top eight sides.

The Warriors got the jump on the Rabbitohs in the seventh minute.

The returning David Fusitu’a ran onto a floated cut out ball from Blake Green to score in his first game back from his two-week quarantine period.

However, it wasn’t long until Souths struck back as Campbell Graham beat five Warriors defenders in a jinking run to the line just four minutes later.

Both clubs then went inches away from landing the next blow as a Braidon Burns knock on denied a circus try for the Bunnies.

While for the Warriors, Campbell Graham’s scrambling defence prevented them from touching down at the other end of the field.

The defining moment of the first half came through a Dane Gagai intercept.

This resulted in Kodi Nikorima being sent to the sin-bin and Adam Reynolds crossing for his 29th career try.

Cody Walker then capitalised on the man-advantage by placing an inventive grubber for Burns to score his second of the night.

Walker didn’t remain in the good books for long though, as he became the fourth person to be sent to the bin across the two games played so far in Round 6.

The Rabbitohs weren’t deterred however.

Alex Johnston scored off the back of a delectable Latrell Mitchell cut-out pass to give Souths a sixteen point lead entering the break.

Damien Cook restarted the scoring in the second period as he silenced any talk of his quiet resumption from the COVID hiatus.

He scooted out of dummy half to send Walker over the line.

Cook then crossed for a four pointer of his own, spinning out of dummy half to further secure the win for the Bunnies.

With the result decided, the scoring slowed down considerably with just two tries in the last half-hour of play.

Souths crossed via Johnston while the Warriors ended their scoring drought via Agnatius Paasi with five minutes left to play.

The win propels South Sydney into the top eight for the first time since the season resumption.

It also sees the Bunnies improve their recent record against the Warriors to ten wins out of their last eleven clashes.

The straight-shooting Wayne Bennett was pleased with the performance of his backline.

Bennett praised Latrell Mitchell’s input into the potent South Sydney attack.

“I still don’t think he’s at his best yet, but he’s going in that direction and gaining consistency” Bennett stated.

On the other end, Stephen Kearney was visibly ‘disappointed’ and ‘frustrated’ with his team’s performance.

Kearney lamented the inability of his side to create enough chances to win the game as well as not holding out on the defensive end.

“What disappointed me tonight was just the softness of the tries… and we didn’t show enough toughness to mount a challenge” he said.

The task doesn’t get any easier for Kearney’s Warriors next week as they travel south to face Melbourne, whilst the Bunnies will play Penrith on Thursday Night.

NRL News Player of the Game:

3 Points – Damien Cook – Was involved across the park tonight and looked to be back to his best running out of dummy-half.

Set up one try and crossed for one of his own.

2 Points – Latrell Mitchell – Another solid performance for Latrell to add to his fullback resume.

The long cut-out ball is quickly becoming his signature play and he demonstrated it to perfection to send Alex Johnston over in the first half.

1 Point – Cody Walker – All three of these guys were expected to thrive under the new rules and you could easily swap them around here and there would be little objection.

Cody was exceptional with one try and one try assist in addition to a nice involvement in the first Burns try.

Souths are a much better team with Walker on the park.

South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell

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