Eels v Rabbitohs: Five key points

Eels' deficiencies shown a week out from finals, Semi's rescue mission saves Parramatta, a big night for the Jennings brothers and Rabbitohs' young stars give fans cause for optimism.

Eels' deficiencies exposed by decimated Rabbits

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was cranky after his side put 50 on the Broncos eight days earlier so you can only imagine the verbal tirade he would have unleashed at half-time as his side threatened to let a top-four finish slip through their fingers.

Like their last loss to the Knights in Round 23 Parramatta were guilty of being out-enthused by a team with nothing to play for only this time they had the class to score a crucial try before half-time and do enough to hold the Rabbitohs at bay in the second.

For a period in the first half the Eels made basic errors and bizarre decisions with ball in hand that if they repeat at any stage in the coming weeks will result in a hasty exit out of the Telstra Premiership race.

For some reason the Eels have shown a tendency to struggle against the teams in the bottom of the half of the eight but thankfully for their fans they should be under no illusions of what's ahead of them throughout the finals series.

Semi's rescue mission secures top four finish

We'll never know if another winger would have scored them but Semi Radradra's hat-trick ensured Parramatta didn't suffer an embarrassing final round defeat as they secured a top-four finish.

Not since the minor premiership of 2005 have the Eels finished the regular season in such a lofty position, their 36 competition points equalling their tally from 12 years ago, but it was a win that was harder to come by than was envisaged.

Against a South Sydney team missing Sam Burgess, Adam Reynolds and Angus Crichton – not to mention Greg Inglis – Parramatta scored first through Michael Jennings but turned to Radradra for their next three four-pointers, taking his tally to seven from his past two games and 20 for the season.

His try just before half-time gave Parramatta a lead that they perhaps didn't deserve and as Souths tried to keep pace two further tries in the second half kept them at arm's length.

He may be leaving the blue and golds at the end of the year but the Fijian crowd pleaser etched his named into the club's record books by passing legends Eric Grothe Snr and Ray Price to be fourth on the all-time leading try-scorers list for the Eels.

 


Night of highlights for Jennings boys

Not since they shared a bedroom as kids in Blacktown have Michael and Robert Jennings seen as much of each other as they did on Friday night.

With big brother Michael starring at right centre for the Eels and Robert on the left wing for the Rabbitohs the pair regularly came into contact with each other and both had moments that they will remind the other of over the off-season.

Michael's blistering speed burned his little brother as he crossed for the game's opening try but Robert soon squared the Jennings ledger with a try in the corner to get South Sydney on the board.

As the game threatened to get away from Souths it was Robert who finished off some clever work from Cody Walker to bridge the gap to two points but at the end of the night it was Michael who left ANZ Stadium with the two points that mattered most.

Rabbitohs finish with heads held high

Coming off the biggest loss by any team all season and without three of their best players the Rabbitohs had every right to roll over with little resistance on Friday night but instead showed the type of character and courage that will give fans cause for optimism for next year.

Youngsters such as Cameron Murray, Tyrell Fuimaono and Robert Jennings were all impressive and coach Michael Maguire deserves credit for inspiring such a committed performance in their last game of the season.

Murray in particular looks like a player of rare promise and an off-season in the weights room should ensure he returns in 2018 alongside Sam Burgess and Angus Crichton to form a lethal back-row combination.

Question marks on Norman-Moses in big moments

Their combination has captivated the competition since Mitchell Moses switched from the Wests Tigers but there must still be questions as to whether he and Corey Norman can close out a high-pressure clash as they will face in the weeks to come.

Both had moments they would rather have again on Friday night and for all their brilliance managing a result is something that they will be judged on throughout the finals series.

Unless the Titans beat the Roosters by 30 points on Saturday the Eels will meet the Storm in Week One of the finals and at some point in that game Norman and Moses will have to apply pressure to a team very used to dealing with it.