The Rabbitohs Are Back!

By Greg Allan for Bunnies TV.

NRL Round 4 Match ReportSouth Sydney Rabbitohs v Canterbury-Bankstown BulldogsAccor Stadium29/3/24

The Rabbitohs are back and so am I! I gave myself a break from these write-ups after the Vegas game. Like probably everyone, I was a bit too shocked and saddened as to what we had become as a team since then. It wasn’t just the fact we were losing, it was the way we were losing. It was hard to watch and even harder to write about… I felt that I was just repeating myself in my writing with the same issues and errors appearing each week on the field but becoming increasingly worse.

The Rabbitohs Are Back!
My 1st live match this season.

First 2024 Live Match

Anyway, this was my first live match since going to the NSW Cup trial out in the Hills during the pre-season. My son Lucas and daughter Juliet joined me for the game. This time together with my faithful crew of Bunnies friends in Bay 129. The weather was brilliant and the crowds were massive for the Easter show but we got there quickly and easily with the extra public transport on offer.

Pre-game, I chatted to my good friend Simon about our dismal form and his trip to Las Vegas. On the field, the NSW Cup side were playing with their usual spirit. Unfortunately, they got done on the bell after making their own comeback. Didn’t the very same thing happen last year on Good Friday in the reserves? Never mind, the effort was great and doesn’t Jye Gray look a talent?

I approached the NRL match being far from confident. Our revolting form had given me doubts as to whether we could beat Canterbury or actually anyone this season. I could tell from the general vibe around me that others felt a similar way. I also feared the reaction from the Rabbitohs members if we did put in another stinker.

A Brand New Pump Up

Kick-off was upon us. Our guys ran out to a brand new pump-up piece on the big screens featuring the song “Knights of Cydonia” by the band Muse. It was highly impressive as all Souths off-field stuff is. This is another that makes it hard as a fan when our on-field performances don’t match the off-field promotion of our great club.

Souths were off to a good enough start. In fact, it was a marked improvement from previous weeks. There was a willingness to complete sets and get to our kick. It’s simple stuff but it has been missing for so long. I was happy about that.

Extended hihjlights.

A very crucial moment occurred early on when Taane challenged a knock-on call when he was running out from our end. Our hearts sank in the members bay, knowing that if we didn’t get this call, things could spiral out of control quickly. Thankfully, we finally had a bit of luck and got the result. To me, it looked like Milne had control of the ball and the call was right but we’ve seen these go the other way so many times….

Disgusting Boos

Following this was a great period for our Rabbitohs. Big Tom crashed over for the first try after a nice pass from Cam and some good deception from Cody. Latrell converted to make it 6-0. Shortly after, a nice long kick came from Matt Burton.

As Latrell went to field the kick that had reached the corner, disgusting Adam Goodes level booing rang out across the stadium from the Canterbury fans. This is something that needs to end, I always thought we were a more progressive game than the AFL but it appears we’re not. Would these ‘fans’ be so keen to boo a footy player if he wasn’t a proud, outspoken Indigenous man? It’s a question they would have to ask themselves… I don’t see how this negativity couldn’t affect Mitchell but it didn’t seem to on this occasion as he flicked a ball to AJ who sailed off downfield.

If only Alex had looked to the right he would have seen an unmarked Taane and Tass! Unfortunately, he found the much slower Tatola on his inside who was quickly rounded up. Never mind, a few plays later we crashed over on the left courtesy of new recruit Wighton after some speedy ball movement. Latrell’s kick just misses 10-0 Souths.

Positive In Bay 129

Things were starting to become a lot more positive in Bay 129 as we all hoped our boys would kick on to a big victory.

The Rabbitohs Are Back!
Juliet, Lucas & me in Bay 129.

Viliame Kikau had other ideas as he outsmarted our right side defence and put Addo-Carr on his way who then passed inside to Burton for a Doggies try. 10-6 Souths. The momentum had well and truly shifted as Burton, who suddenly had the found the ability to kick in other ways apart from those ridiculous towering bombs, nailed a 40/20. This put Canterbury on the attack and to rub further salt into the wounds, ex-Rabbitoh Blake Taaffe finds Connor Tracey with a pinpoint kick for another Dogs 4 pointer. Canterbury convert from the sideline to give them a 12-10 lead.

It was all Canterbury after this with plenty of close calls. They had so much possession and had plenty of chances to increase their lead. Thankfully, the Rabbitohs had a new-found resilience in defence which had been missing for months to repel the Canterbury attack. We went to the break 12-10 down and whilst it was disappointing to give up our lead we had fought well and shown the composure which had been lacking so far this season.

The Mighty Rabbitohs

We were not long into the second half when the mighty Rabbitohs struck! Sharp passing from Duncan, Cody, Wighton and AJ saw Jack score a beautiful runaway try! Alex and Jack look to be building a nice combination, hopefully AJ’s hamstring injury isn’t too bad so we can keep this growing. 16-12 Souths.

The next major event in the game was a horrid spear tackle on Murray from new Dogs firebrand Kurtis Morrin. The replay looked even worse and was a shocking watch for Souths fans. I was certain he’d be sent off with a clear lifting motion present in the tackle but referee Sutton could only manage 10 minutes. The main thing was that Cam was ok… Latrell slots the penalty Souths 18-12.

The game moved on and despite a few half-breaks from Canterbury, Souths looked relatively in control. A bonus penalty for offside from a Dogs dropout gave us an opportunity to extend our lead with another penalty goal. Latrell slots the kick and puts us up 20-12.

Things were looking good as the clock ticked closer to full-time but nothing is ever done easily in the world of South Sydney anymore…. A bizarre play from a quick tap from Crichton saw Tracey grab his second try, this also gave us Souths fans an extremely nervous last minute of play. The Bulldogs spread the ball and looked somewhat dangerous but we were able to contain them. The last play was the customary Burton bomb which Mitchell defused with ease. We had done it! Souths win 20-16!!

The Rabbitohs Are Back!
A very happy Juliet & dad.

Sleeves Rolled Up

While we have plenty to work on, I was so happy with this result. As a team we showed the ability to roll up our sleeves, make tackles, get to our kicks and complete sets. A stunning 97% completion rate went a long way to securing the win. The Bulldogs had more possession and many more penalties but we kept them out and for that we can be proud. Given the inept displays of our first few rounds, I was a massive fan of this more conservative approach. Confidence will grow and the flashy plays will come too.

For me, our best was Jack Wighton. He was inspired in everything he did and was probably the difference between the two sides. He showed his class out there and kept Stephen Crichton under control. This is something we’ve never done before at Souths. Cookie had his best game in ages providing smart options, composure and some great darts from dummy-half. Overall, our forwards were a lot better… Tom and Junior had an impact and Shaq was strong from the bench. Host, in his 100th match, was tireless in his work as was Keaon. Special mention to Taane Milne also – he’s no superstar but he got through an absolute stack of work. Needless to say, Cam Murray gave his all. He had a decent stint off the field which we coped with reasonably well but he was so valuable when he was on the park.

Next Up Warriors

It’s so good to get a win… The Bulldogs are not considered to be premiership heavyweights. However, just like us, they have a massive fan base and plenty to play for. They also have some dangerous players in their line-up so I’m more than happy to get the 2 points. Our next opponents are the Warriors who will be extremely tough but I feel we’re much more of a chance now. Here’s to improving and building confidence as a team! See you out there next Saturday!

The Rabbitohs Are Back!

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