Rabbitohs 30 Eels 12 – Game Recap by Stephen Fenech

What a great win! And on a night where the conditions were not fit for man or beast. Souths played like they were on a dry track. The other remarkable thing was the turnaround after that woeful performance in our last game where it looked like they didn’t want to be there. Parramatta were always going to be tough opposition, but Souths have a great record against the Eels. And Souths turned up with their boots on – it was brilliant to see them roar back to some form tonight.

Jai Arrow celebrates his try last night at Accor Stadium.

Souths were on from the get-go with solid defence, a good completion rate and excellent field position. The game was only four minutes old when Alex Johnston flashed over for our first try and Latrell slotted the conversion – in fact, he converted five out of five tries. Speaking of Latrell – it was awesome to see him back on the field again. He made a solid comeback and showed flashes of his usual brilliance. Just his presence on the field lifted the team tonight. He has also unselfishly ruled himself out of the NSW team for Origin III which I think is a smart move. So good to see him put Souths first.

Our second try was on the end of several passes and two kicks – the second kick taken beautifully mid-air by young talent Isiah Tass who also managed to pass the ball inside before he hit the ground to an unmarked Jai Arrow. This is the Souths we love to see – and they had plenty left in the tank. Souths were dominating with the ball and our defence was effective keeping Parra down their end despite referee Cummins doing his best to help them the Eels of their end with a few relieving penalties coming off their line.

A few minutes later Souths got the ball out to Paulo who was unlucky not to score in the corner. Souths did well to keep the pressure on and they managed to force five line dropouts for repeat sets. Cody Walker seemed more like himself tonight with smart passes and gritty defence. Campbell Graham was also a standout but he copped a shoulder on the face which I thought had broken his cheekbone, but he went off, passed his HIA and returned after a 15-miniute break to pick up exactly where he left off. He was always going forward with the ball, making breaks on the edges and making crunching tackles.

Parra’s first try in the 22nd minute to Gutherson was dead set off a blatant forward pass but the idiot ref and touch judges saw nothing and that’s the only thing the bunker can’t rule on if you can believe that. At 12-6 the Eels were starting to mount a comeback before the break but Alex Johnston broke their hearts by taking a nice intercept right on the stroke of halftime.

Full game replay.

The second half was more of the same I’m happy to say with Tom Burgess making ground every time he ran the ball and Ilias showing his skills with the boot and with the ball. He did well to bounce back with confidence after the embarrassing first half replacement in the last game. We also did well after losing two forwards – Hame Sele and Mark Nicholls – to injury. Paulo found himself on the end of a great movement down the right side in the 61st minute to make up for the try he just missed in the first half. Our next try was off the back of some fine work by Latrell who bumped off an Eels player and made a break towards the centre of the field where he offloaded to Ilias who then found a flying Damien Cook on the inside to score beside the posts.

Unfortunately Souths took the foot off the gas in the dying stages and Paulo, who had a great game with ball, found himself marking no one when Gutherson scored his second try that’s softer than tissue paper. But the game was won and Souths had well and truly dominated.

There seemed to be greater harmony tonight – they had a plan and they executed it. There was a bit more willingness with the ball although there were still a few times we gave up the ball early in the set. But given the conditions, I think Souths did a tremendous job hanging on to the ball. Hopefully Souths have turned a corner here. With Latrell making a successful comeback and Cody getting back to his usual self all we need are our Origin boys to come through unscathed so we can give the back end of the comp a real shake. Next week we’re taking on Newcastle in Newcastle but without Cam Murray, Damien Cook and Jai Arrow who are on Origin duty but the Knights will also be without Ponga. Hopefully it’s the start of a semi-final run. Plus we’re in the eight – and the Roosters are not! Let’s go Rabbitohs!!!

By Stephen Fenech

Stephen Fenech from Tech Guide