Warriors fans got to have a good look at what a clinical team playing for a top four spot looked like at Mt Smart Stadium tonight. Unfortunately for them, that team was the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who scored a dominant 30-10 win.
Many would’ve been pleasantly surprised at the showing in the first 15 minutes though, with the home side putting in some punishing work on defence and kicking smartly. However, normal transmission resumed when Rabbitohs lock Cameron Murray bounced off a couple of ineffective tackles close to the line, scoring an admittedly dubious try under that posts that very much looked like a double movement.
The visitors should’ve had another straight off the ensuing kickoff, but Campbell Graham bombed a great chance down the right edge when he failed to get a pass away to his winger Corey Allan.
This proved to be the let off that spurred the Warriors to resume their good dominant tackling work, however when they had the ball the Rabbitohs proved to be just as effective at keeping them out. Time and again Blake Green and Kodi Nikorima were forced to kick well outside the Rabbitohs’ 20 metre line, meaning that the Warriors didn’t get a sniff at the try line at all.
On the 27 minute mark, the Rabbitohs struck again when they ran it on the last tackle and created just enough space for Alex Johnston to squeeze over in the left hand corner and double their lead. The winger was in the action again straight off the kickoff, helping gang tackle Roger Tuivasa-Sheck out over the sideline to ultimately set up a penalty goal for Adam Reynolds.
The Warriors burst into life after that, though. Tuivasa-Sheck made a trademark weaving run to set up late replacement Adam Pompey on the right edge, then Nikorima got himself into the game with a beautiful line break and chip ahead. Ken Maumalo was on hand to collect and score in the corner, which closed the gap to 14-10 at halftime.
Reynolds pushed the Rabbitohs back out to a six point lead shortly after the restart, nailing a penalty 30 metres out. Pompey then butchered a goal line drop out, meaning Reynolds could knock over another two points only minutes later. Murray was on hand to score under the posts again, this time off a Cody Walker break, not long after and all of a sudden the Rabbitohs had a commanding 14 point lead.
A searing break by Graham with eight minutes to go then set up a try to Dane Gagai, which made the score 30-10 and sent a steady stream of fans to the Mt Smart car park. Most would've missed Adam Reynolds knocking over a 35 metre field goal as the hooter went.
There’s only one more miserable week to go in this disaster of a season for the Warriors, which ends next weekend in Canberra. A decent showing there will do little to mask the serious problems the team faces going into the off season.
Rabbitohs 31 (C Murray 2, A Johnston, D Gagai tries; A Reynolds 7 goals, field goal)
Warriors 10 (A Pompey, K Maumalo tries; I Luke goal)
HT: 14-10 Rabbitohs