Relaxed Rabbitohs were ready for crunch time
South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold claimed the Rabbitohs had simulated the exact scenarios they overcame against the Bulldogs throughout preseason preparations.
Seibold, who was critical of the penalty against Souths enforcer Sam Burgess for a raised forearm in the second half, revealed some of the training tactics implemented over the off season that helped his side come from behind to beat the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 20-16 in their annual Good Friday showdown.
The Rabbitohs scored twice in the final seven minutes to chase down a six-point deficit at ANZ Stadium, leaving the coach with an immense sense of satisfaction given the emphasis they had put on coming from behind throughout a gruelling summer training regimen.
''We've done a lot of drills in the preseason and into the season where we've put scenarios on the scoreboard and had the clock ticking down,'' Seibold said.
''When we were down six points with seven and a half minutes to go, that was a game scenario that we've practised at training numerous times during the preseason.
''The boys were talking about it on the field, that this was a training scenario. We were really confident that we could at least give ourselves a chance and we did.''
In a match that was marred by more contentious refereeing decisions, Seibold was critical of the momentum-changing penalty against Burgess in the 58th minute.
The Englishman floored Josh Morris with a forearm to the neck while carrying the ball off his own tryline. The bunker intervened and advised the officials to penalise Burgess for the incident which was also placed on report.
The rookie coach could be headed for a warning from the NRL after his comments post-match but couldn't hide his frustrations with the decision from the bunker.
Match: Rabbitohs vs Bulldogs
Venue: ANZ Stadium
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''I thought it was a massive decision by the bunker to overturn that,'' Seibold said.
''You look at that carry, there's no way in the world that should be overturned in my opinion. I don't think he will have anything to worry about whatsoever. I think if you have a look at that particular carry, every second carry in the game is a carry like that.
''It was a really big call, but we were tough enough to defend the decision. I think when the bunker intervenes like that, it's a good tool to have if it is a deadest malicious play. But I didn't agree with that.
''There was no intent from Sam. He didn't lead with his elbow. I've watched it a number of times already because I was filthy about it at the time. There's no way in the world that's a penalty against us. If Morris doesn't stay down there, no way in the world is that overturned. We shouldn't have had to defend our line but we did, so we'll get on with it.''
The other major talking point related to a try awarded to Greg Inglis while Josh Jackson was trying to get back into the defensive line after being called out by the referee, who warned the Bulldogs captain for his side's repeated penalties.
Inglis later insisted he wasn't aware Jackson was out of place.
''Not at all,'' the Rabbitohs skipper said.
''We just tapped it and worried about us. It's unfortunate that happened but in the end the ref is out there doing a job.''