Rabbitohs v Roosters: Five key points
In what proved to be another thrilling game between classic rivals the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters here are five key points from the reigning premiers' eventual 34-26 victory.
Rabbitohs justify premiership favourite tags... but they won't tell you that
The South Sydney Rabbitohs in their very few games in 2015 have come through with flying colours no matter the challenge placed in front of them. Their game against the Roosters was no different as they scored three late tries to secure two further competition points after a result that at one point looked very unlikely. Having won every trophy on offer over the pre-season, the reigning premiers' $4.50 favourites tag on Sportsbet is more than justifiable.
But in typical South Sydney fashion, they aren't going to tell you that. The clichés will come in thick and fast and this story would be considered "outside noise" – even if their empire doesn't look like crashing down anytime soon.
"We just have to uphold our standards and today wasn't our best day. Even though we walked away with the win there were disappointing areas about that match," Rabbitohs captain Greg Inglis told media following the game's conclusion. "We have to go back to the drawing board and refocus for next week. We still have improvements within ourselves and I think we took a step backwards compared to last week."
Rabbitohs can't rugby league without Reynolds
In saying all of the above, if Adam Reynolds suffers a long term injury in the not-too-distant future then the Bunnies are in all sorts of trouble. The halfback received a head knock exactly halfway through the first half and for the next 10 minutes the Roosters ran absolute riot. Three tries in seven minutes, twice through Michael Jennings and once for Daniel Tupou, saw the Roosters take the game by its neck. With Reynolds' return though came the eventual match-winner but the way his team crumbled when he left the field of play is of plenty of concern for Michael Maguire's men.
"We lost our way a little bit when he went off but the players regrouped and got back into it which is what we needed to do," Maguire said. "Obviously Adam plays a big part in our team, much like everyone else so I thought he performed very well in the back-end of the game."
Roosters' left edge is lethal
In Reynolds's absence in the first half, the Roosters' left-edge partnership of Jennings and Tupou starred. Scoring three tries between them, the New South Wales representative duo were giving their opposite numbers Dylan Walker and Joel Reddy headaches at every turn of the game. Throw in the influence of the ever improving Roger Tuivasa-Sheck swinging around the back, the direction of James Maloney and the grunt of Boyd Cordner – who recorded 112 metres and 34 tackles– and there you have an all-star cast. Right-edge defences throughout the NRL beware.
Joel Reddy is under pressure on the Rabbitohs' wing
The Rabbitohs are on cloud nine right now. Even more so is winger Reddy after he crossed for the eventual match-winning try. But there must be a slight concern around his current form especially with the veteran not accustomed to playing on the wing. The usual centre or fullback had plenty of troubles against the aforementioned left edge of the Roosters which included forward passes and misreads in defence and under the high ball. It's no secret he will need to work on plenty if he is to abide by coach Maguire's high standards moving forward especially with the likes of Aaron Gray and Sam Manuleleua (literally) waiting in the wings.
The Roosters' bench is one of the best in the game
Trent Robinson must feel spoilt for choice when he has the likes of Mitchell Aubusson, Kane Evans and Dylan Napa to throw into the mix every single week. Aubusson was dominant out of dummy-half and gave Issac Luke a run for his money when it came to getting out of the ruck – in line with the new interpretations surrounding this facet. Kane Evans had somewhat of a coming of age against the Rabbitohs too while Dylan Napa showed his worth by carrying three blokes over the tryline. Throw in Martin Kennedy – who can't even get a run in Robinson's 17 currently – and the good showings of rookie Siosiua Taukeiaho and you'd be hard-pressed finding a better bench in the NRL.
"I thought Napa when he first came on did a really strong job there and then Kane Evans really taught us how to carry at that point. He had some really good body positions and almost scored twice on the way he was getting through there," Robinson said after the game.
"I've been really happy with the bench the past few weeks. They have done a good job and we are lucky to have them."