Newcastle fought hard to steal an unlikely finals berth with their last throw of the dice but couldn’t overcome South Sydney at ANZ Stadium in Round 26 last year.
Needing a win to have any chance, the Knights didn’t start too well with Rabbitohs prop Roy Asotasi bursting between two defenders and reaching out to score in the eighth minute. Ten minutes later it was Greg Inglis forcing his way over from close range to make it 12-0 and seemingly a long night for the Novocastrians.
But it wasn’t over yet as Darius Boyd managed to squeeze his way over out wide to make it 12-6 at the break and give the visitors a chance.
Then came the play of the game. Shortly after half-time, Akuila Uate broke clear down the right touchline and looked certain to score before Inglis pulled off a stunning try-saving tackle to deny the flying Fijian the try. And it was a 12-poinjt turnaround when John Sutton went from dummy-half up the other end of the field to make it 18-6 and kill off Newcastle’s brave fight.
Souths completed 80 per cent of their sets to just 66 per cent by Newcastle which helped them enjoy 57 per cent of possession. They also kicked for 811 metres to just 546 from their opponents.
Sam Burgess was superb for the Rabbitohs with 199 metres, seven tackle-breaks and four offloads while Danny Buderus notched a whopping 56 tackles for the visitors.