What a painful loss. Souths just threw that away. And while it’s easy to point the finger at certain players for their mistakes, Souths were outsmarted and outsmarted by a Penrith team missing their best two players.
But having said that I can also say that Penrith are also cheats in defence – two metres in front of the ref all night and laying all over us on the ruck so long I’m pretty sure they’ll still be a Penrith player laying there when we play the Cowboys next week. I was at the game and I’m telling you, Penrith were not only in front of the referee, they were running up off the line before we even played the ball. But this idiot ref had zero control – he was so out of his depth he needed floaties. The penalty count should have been 10-0 in Souths favour.
Kikau, who looked like an oversized cotton bud with his bleached blonde hair, must have had some sort of special leave pass to be exempt from the rules tonight because I could have counted on one hand the number of times he was actually onside. And Penrith had so many escorts to protect their fullback they should be working in Kings Cross. How are they allowed to get away with that? I can recall Cody Walker was once penalised because he looked over his shoulder and yet Penrith run at angles in front of our players without giving away a penalty.
OK, enough about Penrith, now we need to take a long hard look at our own backyard. It doesn’t help us in the fourth minute when Damien Cook, the current NSW Origin hooker, throws the world’s first intercept pass that rolled along the ground for Crichton to snatch up and score the easiest try of his career. That was the worst start to a game for while.
Now as much as I think Latrell is a genius (had made a good offload for Cody’s try) he also makes some dumb decisions and that happened again tonight. In the 27th minute he runs the ball up and tries to milk a penalty in the ruck and ends up losing the ball. Off the next scrum, Edwards ran past Paulo and Graham like they were mannequins and scored another easy Penrith try that came from our mistakes. That penalty he gave away when he dived on the ball on our line because Penrith never had a dummy half was a line-ball decision that could been judged fair by another ref with a higher IQ. There were some heart-stopping passes he threw on our line as well to Paulo and AJ. His short dropouts backfired again tonight and even his short kick off near the end of the game didn’t even make 10m. Ilias was also caught out a few times and couldn’t get the fifth tackle kick away and didn’t have enough to inspire and organise his side.
When Souths had the ball, they struggled to make ground and maintain field position. Souths needed to adapt to the conditions – if they pull a knife, you pull a gun. For a start they should have stayed in Penrith’s faces like they were in ours in defence. Instead there were periods when we let them come to us. With the ball we were pretty well contained and our battering rams who usually make a lot of ground were barely reaching the advantage line. One way they could have adapted was trying to offload more and getting players to support the ball carrier. With Penrith having four to a tackle, any ball we managed to offload resulted in some good second phase play and we made some progress. We also needed to fight to play the ball – that would have made the time Penrith were laying on us seem even longer.
And as if this night wasn’t miserable enough after that loss, they also decided to close the M5 East after 9.30pm. Who’s the genius who decided to close a major motorway on the night of a Souths game in Homebush. It took me more than an hour to get home – I’m pretty sure Penrith had something to do with it – they got away with everything else.
Apart from handing Penrith the minor premiership we’ve also put finishing in the top four out of reach as well. And unfortunately the job doesn’t get any easier with Cowboys next week followed by the last game of the regular season against the Roosters. At least we have a nine-day turnaround to get things right before the match against the Cowboys. Now is the time we discover just how far we are willing to go and how deep we want to dig. Let’s go Rabbitohs!!!