By Stephen Fenech from Tech Guide.
Today Souths showed they have the right formula to beat any team. Error-free football, offloading, backing up the ball carrier, completing our sets and rock-solid defence. That’s exactly what was on show today and the points were just flowing. And it was great to see our younger players shining today as well with strong, focused and mature performances. Souths were the strong favourites against the Warriors today, but I believe the level of intensity and efficiency they showed this afternoon would have beaten anyone.
It was an absolute try-fest for Souths (my four leg multi got up before halftime!) thanks to our superior field position and high completion rate. But what was also impressive were how many of our tries came from nothing. Thanks to our support play, we managed to find the line and get that scoreboard ticking over. A classic example of this was when Latrell picked up an offload about 15m out and his sheer strength and ability saw him crash over under the posts. Up to that point, Latrell had a quiet start to the game – he was biding his time at the back but when he decided to get involved it was just effortless. He threw the last pass before a try a few times today, scored two tries and his goal-kicking was also on point.
Special mention needs to go to Cam Murray who was in a class of his own today. He set up the first three tries, made more tackles than the rest of the forward pack put together and led by example in every possible way. A real captain’s knock. He is a dead-set machine! He had plenty company across the park with Jai Arrow and Junior Tatola again always close to the action with the ball and heavily involved in defence. In fact, it was a couple of Arrow offloads that led to tries.
And even when the scoreboard was ticking over Souths didn’t take their foot off the pedal. You could see the same intensity with the ball and in defence even when the game was well and truly won and there were just a few minutes to go. I was worried that history would repeat itself after Souths led 26-0 at halftime the last time we played the Warriors in Magic Round. That day we only managed to scrape home 32-30. There were no such worries today, Souths came out for the second half as if it was 0-0 and they were starting all over again.
Izaac Thompson made a fine debut on the wing today and was even rewarded with a try. He’s a big unit this kid and he showed he’s got the size and skill for first grade. Inside him, Isaiah Tass continues to improve week after week and today he was always finding space with the ball and making some great tackles and defusing the Warriors attack. Daniel Suluka-Fifita was also a brilliant starter taking over from the suspended Tom Burgess.
Oddly enough, despite having 59 per cent possession and dominant field position, Souths had more dropouts than the Warriors after we were tackled in our in-goal area. But I just want to state plain and simple here – I am NOT a fan of the short dropout. It’s a roll of the dice I’m not comfortable with. I preferred it when they roofed it 60m to keep the opposition away from our tryline. I don’t know why this has become a thing of late but I for one would prefer not to have the heart attack especially in a tight game.
And what’s with all the forward passes today. The worst one was when Latrell offloaded near our line after a kick. Just take the tackle and we get another five plays after that. There were also some passes in general play that the ref called forward. In a closer game this could prove costly. But overall it was an absolute pleasure to see Souths dominate a game like that. Easier on the arteries as well.
Next week we must aim up again like we did today we take on Parramatta who have found a bit of form. We seem to play well against the Eels and absolutely mauled them in the rain at Homebush in our last encounter a few weeks ago. This week, they are playing at home, so we need to be at our best to continue our march to the semi-finals. There’s something in the air and Souths appear to be in a positive frame of mind. We need that to continue plus we’ll be bolstered by the return of Campbell Graham as early as next week. Do we dare to dream of premiership glory?? Go big or go home I say. Let’s go Rabbitohs!!!
Special thanks to Kelly Brown for the images and videos from Sunshine Coast Stadium.