The Wests Tigers continued where they left off last week with a completion rate of 96% compared to the Rabbitohs 69% to wear them down and force them to defend 12 extra sets with Cameron Murray making a career high 66 tackles.
The Rabbitohs 16 handling errors coupled with playing with just 15 men players after losing Hame Sele (HIA), Jacob Host (shoulder), Liam Knight (leg) capped of a disastrous night for the cardinal and myrtle who will be left licking their wounds.
For the Tigers, the win may have come at a cost with fullback Dane Laurie suffering a medial injury in his knee and is expected to miss a fortnight.
The Tigers had the first use of good field position as Mansour knocked on a loose Luke Brooks pass and capitalised on their good fortune with a slick play down the right-hand short side resulting David Nofoaluma diving over in the corner.
To rub salt into the wounds for the Rabbitohs, centre Taane Milne was sin binned for a late high shot on Dane Laurie after he provided the pass for Nofoaluma.
In what should have been a dominant period for the Tigers, it was the Rabbitohs who had all the possession with 12 men.
They put on their first try thanks to a late offload from Alex Johnston to Cody Walker who ran in untouched scoring under the posts.
You would think it was the Rabbitohs who were attacking against 12 men as they found an overlap with ease thanks to a lovely face ball from Walker landing on Johnston’s chest who streaked away 20 metres untouched to give Souths the lead.
It appeared the Rabbitohs were going to pile on the points when Taane Milne returned from his 10 minutes in the bin but an error from Keaon Koloamatangi shifted all momentum.
The Tigers again made the most of a Souths error, this time down the left side as a Luke Brooks tunnel ball caught out Campbell Graham providing Ken Maumalo with a free run to the try line.
The Tigers again found themselves in Souths red zone in the final two minutes of the half but a poor end to the set saw Campbell Graham link up with Lachlan Illias to run 80m.
He looked destined to score if not for a try saving tackle from Jacob Liddle inches from the try line.
The break caught multiple Tigers payers offside and Alex Twal was sent to the sin bin for a professional found but the home side held on to enter halftime with a two-point advantage
Early in the second half, South Sydney eventually capitalised on the depleted Tigers defensive line and re-claimed the lead after Mansour pounced on a well placed grubber kick by the ever improving Illias.
The old Tiger team would have let the game slip away but this resilient side weren’t going down without a fight.
Nofoaluma levelled things up when he scored off the back a sharp scrum play.
Moments later Brooks scooped up a stray pass from Illias and sprinted 60m to take the lead to led heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Rabbitohs looked out of juice with no interchanges left but a costly error from Starford To’a failed to defuse a South Sydney bomb gifting them a fresh set of six to try and level things up once again.
They did just that thanks to Koloamatangi strolling through a hole in the Tigers defence.
Scores level with 8 minutes to play, it was the Tigers who had first crack at a field goals but Hastings failed to emulate last weeks heroics, gifting the Rabbitohs a seven tackle set.
South Sydney found themselves in a position to steal victory before some disorganisation saw a shocking field goal attempt from Jai Arrow giving the Tigers one last chance before full-time.
Maligned halfback Luke Brooks stepped up to nail a drop goal from 20 metres out, sealing victory for the Tigers. 23-22.
The Tigers look a completely different team with Hastings steering the side and his combination with Luke Brooks appears to be a masterstroke from Coach Michael Maguire.
In the 3 games Hastings has played, the Tigers have scored 60 points compared to the 26 in the 4 games he hasn’t featured.
Wests Tigers 23 (Nofoaluma 2, Maumalo, Brooks; Goals: Hastings 3/4; Field Goals: Brooks) def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 (Walker, Johnston, Mansour, Koloamatangi; Goals: Taaffe 3/4)
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Cameron Murray (SOU)
2. Luke Brooks (WST)
1. James Tamou (WST)