South Sydney Rabbitohs ran out 36-18 winners over Newcastle Knights after Ken Sio bombed a certain try which would have drawn the Knights level. Instead, Souths raced out to a winning 20-point lead.
The Bunnies came out of the traps fast. Within two minutes, Alex Johnston was put through a gap by Cody Walker. The fullback had the easy task of drawing and passing to Robert Jennings.
It was Walker’s turn three minutes later to get over the stripe. A little bit of footwork got him in between defenders which was enough for the standoff to score.
The Knights were looking dangerous, however. They were rewarded when a move to the right on the last found Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
But the Rabbitohs retook the initiative when a good Johnston run earned a quick play-the-ball near the Knights line. Newcastle’s defence was drawn in allowing Adam Reynolds to boom a pass out to 18-year-old Campbell Graham.
The Knights came back at the Rabbitohs when another shift to the right found Sione Mata’utia. He shrugged off defenders and reached out to plant the ball down.
On the hooter, Newcastle reduced the deficit to four when they went right once again to Kenny-Dowall for his second.
The Knights created the leveller shortly after the restart when Ken Sio strolled in but a Souths hand dislodged it as he dived to the floor. The Bunnies went up the other end of the field and scored through Dane Gagai.
Damien Cook showed his immense skill and speed when he took off from dummy half and stood up Mitch Barnett to score a brilliant solo try.
The Knights were 20 down after two Reynolds penalties but a Lachlan Fitzgibbon try gave Newcastle a sniff. But Inglis killed the game once and for all with two minutes to play.
Knights: Ponga, Sio, Mata’utia, Ross, Kenny-Dowall, Watson, Cogger, Ese’ese, Griffin, Lillyman, Fitzgibbon, Guerra, Barnett; Interchanges: D Saifiti, Buhrer, Heighington, J Saifiti
Tries: Kenny-Dowall 2, Mata’utia, Fitzgibbon; Goals: Sio
Rabbitohs: Johnston, Graham, Inglis, Gagai, Jennings, Walker, Reynolds, T Burgess, Cook, G Burgess, Sutton, Crichton, Murray; Interchanges: Doueihi, Nicholls, Clark, Tatola
Tries: Jennings, Walker, Graham, Gagai, Cook, Inglis; Goals: Reynolds 6
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.