Despite leading 20-0 in the first half, South Sydney Rabbitohs had to hang on to beat Wests Tigers 26-24 as they closed the gap on the NRL top four and confirmed their place in the Finals.
The Rabbitohs shot out to their commanding lead within 26 minutes. Dane Gagai, Corey Allan and Campbell Graham all crossed for tries with Reynolds kicking four goals.
But the Tigers were able to recover before the break with two tries of their own to Luke Garner and Tommy Talau, both converted by Adam Doueihi.
The second half started poorly for Wests. Gagai’s interception and break upfield led to the sin bin of Alex Twal for a professional foul.
Then Luke Brooks and Gagai’s fight saw both players sent for ten on the sideline. Still up by a player, Souths extended their lead through Graham’s second try.
But when Brooks returned to the field, he cleverly got on the end of David Nofoaluma’s kick as the Tigers stayed in the game. Then a cut-out ball from Benji Marshall saw Asu Kepaoa cross on the left as Wests cut the deficit to only two but in the end, they weren’t able to take the lead for the first time.
Tigers: Doueihi, Nofoaluma, Lawrence, Talau, Kepaoa, Marshall, Brooks, Aloiai, Grant, Mikaele, Garner, Leilua, Twal; Interchanges: Eisenhuth, Taylor, Liddle, McIntyre
Tries: Garner, Talau Brooks, Kepaoa; Goals: Doueihi 4
Sin bin: Twal (49) – professional foul, Brooks (51) – fighting
Rabbitohs: Allan, Johnston, Graham, Marsters, Gagai, Walker, Reynolds, Knight, Cook, Burgess, Su’A, Sironen, Murray; Interchanges: Nicholls, Cartwright, Mago, Koloamatangi
Tries: Gagai, Allan, Graham 2; Goals: Reynolds 5
Sin bin: Gagai (51) – fighting
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.