Rabbitohs do enough to beat Wests Tigers
South Sydney have continued their unbeaten start to their premiership defence with a rugged 20-6 victory over the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In a game that conjured memories of former star Sam Burgess' heroics in last year's grand final, centre Dylan Walker showed extreme courage to play on after fracturing his finger in a try-attempt early in the first half.
"He definitely was going to get back out there," said coach Michael Maguire. "He's learnt that and he's grown in himself to be able to do those sorts of things for the team which is a great sign for a young kid."
Despite being in plenty of discomfort, the Kangaroos three-quarter bagged two tries in yet another inspirational performance from a Rabbitohs individual.
It was his go-ahead try on the halftime buzzer that proved crucial, diving at full strength to plant his right hand on an Adam Reynolds grubber to give his side an unlikely 10-6 lead.
Rabbitohs skipper Greg Inglis extended the lead early in the second period when he stampeded over opposite fullback James Tedesco.
However, led by hitman Martin Taupau, a stubborn Tigers outfit stayed with the defending premiers in a spiteful second half that threatened to erupt on multiple occasions.
At one stage Rabbitohs forward Tim Grant and Tigers prop Keith Galloway "head-pressed" each other before the former Panther was put on report for a lifting tackle in the 64th minute.
But Walker sealed the match on yet another chase of a Reynolds grubber, handing the visitors their first loss of the year.
On an overcast afternoon at Sydney's Olympic venue, both sides spurned opportunities in the first half hour, the best of which was when Kevin Naiqama was forced out inches short of the corner in the 6th minute.
In fact, both sides had gotten themselves over the line in the opening stages but came away with nothing.
Pat Richards claimed a try in the 2nd minute when Taupau cannoned himself into Joel Reddy milliseconds after he took a Luke Brooks bomb, and then Walker injured his left hand when trying to burrow over in the 9th minute.
Walker was almost in two minutes later when Inglis put Joel Reddy into the clear, and then Alex Johnston thought he had nabbed the opener when a Chris McQueen tapback was tapped forward by Issac Luke.
First points finally came at the half-hour mark, when a Robbie Farah dink from dummy half close to the line ricocheted off Issac Luke right back into Farah's breadbasket for a 6-0 lead.
Movement on the scoreboard instantly sparked movement on the pitch, and the Rabbitohs clicked into gear when Inglis fired a bullet to Johnston in the 35th and then Walker scored on the halftime siren.
Richards was put on report for lifting Inglis into a dangerous position in the 19th minute.
Despite the loss, Tigers coach Jason Taylor said he was proud of his team's performance.
"Yeah, that's exactly how we feel," he said. "We're disappointed, very scrappy in attack. We're way off there, and we have been for both of our games. We've played some patches, but the fact that we hung in there like we did and were still in the game with 10 or so minutes to go was really encouraging."
South Sydney 20 (Dylan Walker 2, Alex Johnston, Greg Inglis tries; Adam Reynolds 2 goals) def. Wests Tigers 6 (Robbie Farah try; Pat Richards goal). Crowd: 23,211. Halftime: 10-6.