When they needed Cameron Murray’s impact most, he stepped up, producing a man-of-the-match performance to help the South Sydney Rabbitohs defeat the Sydney Roosters.
Arch-rivals since 1908, the Rabbitohs have recently had the rub of the green over the Roosters but have so far looked poor in 2022.
Desperate to open their 2022 account, the Rabbitohs got off to the perfect start when Murray burst through the Roosters defence to start proceedings.
They quickly went ahead further when an error off the tap restart saw Alex Johnston score the 138th try of his career in the left corner.
Not to be outdone, the Roosters roared back into the contest with a try of their own; both Joey Manu and James Tedesco combining.
The Roosters cut the deficit further in the second half as Manu scored one of his own, stepping an error from Thomas Burgess.
Rabbitohs young half Lachlan Ilias then got in the act when he set up a try for Cody Walker to extend their lead once again.
Keaon Koloamatangi was denied once when he was unable to regrip the ball but not a second time as he powered onto a pass to score.
Latrell Mitchell then put his name on the scoresheet when he raced away down the left touchline after another Roosters error.
There was a consolation try for the Roosters through winger Daniel Tupou but it was all about the Rabbitohs and Jason Demetriou’s first win.
Demetriou was impressed with his side’s efforts and knew if they won the middle, it would go a long way towards winning the game.
“Coming into the game I was confident that if we upped the with our defence and played through the middle third a bit more we’d get some joy and we did that and probably unlucky not to score another couple,” Demetriou said.
“Our completion rate allowed Damien Cook to get in the game more and allowed Lachlan and Cody and Latrell to do a bit more with the footy and gave us some opportunities to put the Roosters under pressure with our defence as well.”
As for Roosters coach Trent Robinson, he criticised his side’s lack of patience as a contributing factor to the loss.
“We worked our way back into it at the back end of the first half but we were just really impatient to play our footy,” Robinson said.
“We lacked the maturity to our game tonight. It wasn’t a real tussle of a game.”
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 (Murray, Johnston, Walker, Koloamatangi, Mitchell; Goals: Mitchell 4) def. Sydney Roosters 16 (Tedesco, Manu, Tupou; Goals: Walker 2).
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