South Sydney Rabbitohs secured a home tie in the opening round of the NRL Finals with an impressive and scintillating 60-8 win over Sydney Roosters.
The Rabbitohs were inspired by their stand off Cody Walker and winger Alex Johnston who scored seven tries between them as they destroyed their local and title rivals.
The Roosters started well and scored after four minutes through Josh Morris but the Rabbitohs dominated the rest of the half.
Cody Walker crossed before two tries from Johnston, now the NRL top try scorer, and that was finished off by a brilliant try from Campbell Graham set up by Corey Allan’s kick.
After Reynolds added a penalty at the end of the first half, Walker’s offload gave Allan a try as Souths continued to impress but Luke Keary’s kick brought a try for Daniel Tupou for Sydney Roosters with 23 minutes to play.
Walker got back in on the action when he got on the end of Graham’s kick inside. Then Reynolds’ kick gave Cameron Murray a try when Sonny Bill Williams failed to deal with it before a succession of offloads saw Johnston complete his hat-trick.
Incredibly to finish, Johnston set up Allan but the fullback waited for his winger to loom up before giving him the ball for his fourth. And if that wasn’t enough, a spread of play to the left gave Johnston his fifth try and Reynolds added his second penalty after the hooter.
Rabbitohs: Allan, Johnston, Graham, Gagai, Paulo, Walker, Reynolds, Knight, Cook, Burgess, Sironen, Tatola, Murray; Interchanges: Cartwright, Nicholls, Sele, Koloamatangi
Tries: Walker 2, Johnston 5, Graham, Allan, Murray; Goals: Reynolds 10
Roosters: Tedesco, Tupou, J Morris, Aubusson, Ikuvalu, Keary, Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Cordner, Tupouniua, Crichton; Interchanges: Lam, Faamausili, Butcher, Williams
Tries: J Morris, Tupou
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.