A Good Friday

By Josh Kemp for Bunnies TV.

The message was simple. WIN!!!!

It didn’t need to be pretty or need to be a flogging. It didn’t matter how. We just needed to win. 

Whilst it was far from perfect, the mission was completed. We were finally on the board for our first win of the season. 

In previous weeks numerous things cost us. Poor completion rates. Poor discipline. Lack of resilience in defence. However on Good Friday our completion rate was excellent. Our resilience in defence was there. Yet our discipline was still lacking. The difference was for most part, we were able to defend. 

A Good Friday
Back home.

Our goal line defence has been very questionable at late. Also how poorly we fall off late in the game. The Bulldogs had so many opportunities attacking our line. Especially late in the game. Big hits in defence forcing errors and easing the pressure off. 

Jack Attack

Whilst our attack is still well below its best we did catch a glimpse of the combination of what our left hand side has to offer. There was none better than Jack Wighton in attack. He showed us what a danger he can be. Crossing for 2 tries. 

Cody Walker is still well below his best, but again we see slight improvement in him. Hopefully we start to see the best of him sooner rather than later. 

Damien Cook is another that has been criticised of late. He seems to rise to the occasion of the Good Friday game. He made a couple of great runs during the game. Cookie is at his best when he runs direct. We need to see more of that. 

Latrell Put Up His Hand

Another who has been criticised has been Latrell Mitchell. Many have criticised him for not putting his body on the line. He seemed to put his hand up. The early offload to Alex Johnston from the kick return resulted in a long break down the field and eventually led to our second try. 

After tries to Tom Burgess, off a great ball by our captain and Jack Wighton we were up 10-0 with all the momentum. A couple of kicks and a couple of penalties saw the Bulldogs wrestle the momentum away from us. Before we knew if the Dogs hit the front after 2 quick tries. 

The Boys Were Turning Up

The rest of the half we were just holding on. We couldn’t get the momentum back. A few more penalties against us. Fatigue looked to be kicking in. A few missed tackles. It was looking ominous that we were going to do our usual and concede a try just before halftime. Yet the resilience was there. The boys were turning up for each other. We hold on. 

Halftime and down by 2 points. 

Chris Cook & Callum Mackay.

The second half started and it was looking like your normal ease into the half type of sets. Then from nowhere we go to our left. Tallis Duncan taking it to the line to Cody Walker to Jack Wighton then to AJ who showed a clean pair of heels to get on the outside of Connor Tracey. It was then a simple case of drawing the fullback to go back to Wighton for his 2ndtry. 

A Great Start

What a great start to the 2nd half. Just like that we were back in front. 

A nasty incident where Cam Murray was put in a dangerous position by Kurtis Morrin saw him sent to the bin. Probably lucky not to be sent. 

The Dogs were down a player and we needed to take advantage. 

A penalty for offside when it looked like Cody was going to put Latrell through only for a Bulldogs player get his hand to it saw our lead extended to 6 points. 

Another break on our left by Wighton only for him fumble the ball when he was about to pass. A rare error. 

Match highlights.

From there our discipline was an issue. Being up a player we should have been putting them under pressure. Instead it was the other way around. The good thing was we didn’t concede. 

Winning The Battle

Despite the momentum being with the Bulldogs we were fighting hard. Turning up for each other. Unlike previous weeks the effort areas were there. If there was a loose ball we had players competing for the ball. Not only were they competing for the ball, but winning that battle. This was the attitude that has been lacking for some time. 

We get some ball in good field position off the back of a great tackle on Blake Taaffe forcing the ball loose. We were able to force a drop out. The Bulldogs go short yet fail to make the 10 before one of their players touched it. 

In a confusing moment it looked like it was going to be our ball 10 metres out rather than a penalty. Of course the new rules state that if it doesn’t go 10 then it’s a normal restart and not a penalty. Yet because the ball was touched before it went the 10 then it is a penalty. The referee finally got it right and we were able to extend our lead beyond a converted try. 

A Nervous 10

The last 10 was nervous. So often we were defending our line. Our defence was up to the task. Some big shots either stopped them in their tracks or forced the ball loose. 

The clock as it does when you’re holding onto a lead just didn’t seem to be moving. No doubt for the Bulldogs fans it was moving too fast. 

The Bulldogs made half a break, yet we are up to the task. However late in the tackle count Michael Chee Kam gave away an unnecessary penalty late in the penalty count. Before we could even react the Bulldogs were over for a try. 

These are the dumb plays that have haunted us in recent times. The game was won. Yet that penalty handed them one last shot. 

One Last Shot

If we thought the last 10 was bad for the anxiety of the fans the last minute was turned up to 11. 

Thankfully the conversion was missed. That meant that a try was needed to win. 

First win of the season.

The Bulldogs only had a few tackles to go the length of the field. They threw the ball wide, yet we were up to the task. The clock was ticking down. There were only seconds left. They were still inside their own half and one more play. It was only going to be one thing they were going to do. Their Hail Mary play. A Burton bomb. 

A Burton Bomb

Watching with anticipation. Hearts in our mouths only to look down and see Latrell calmly place himself under that bomb and catch it with ease. 

The relief was felt in The Burrow. High fives and hugs all around. The heart rate started dropping. It was time to celebrate. It was time to sing “Take Me Home, Botany Road”. 

Callum Mackay from New Zealand at his first ever Rabbitohs home game with Tyrone Munro.

Then for the first time since May last year after we beat the Tigers we get to hear “Glory Glory” being played at the end of the game at Accor Stadium.

A Good Friday.

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