You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Wayne Bennett was "sending prayers down" at ANZ Stadium when the Rabbitohs fell behind 14-0 after 11 minutes of their elimination final against Newcastle.

But the master coach was able to crack a few trademark dry jokes following another attacking blitz that set up a 46-20 comeback victory and a clash against Parramatta next Saturday.

It had been 2563 days since the Knights' last playoff in 2013 and when Hymel Hunt and Bradman Best scored early tries it seemed like it would be worth the wait for their fans.

Kalyn Ponga added a penalty goal and at that stage Bennett was seeking some divine intervention to help his troops.

"We just presented them with good field position and they were at their freshest and most alert and they grabbed it," Bennett said

"We cut that out and we got our game going."

Get Caught Up: Finals Week 1

And how. Eight tries pushed the Rabbitohs' total to 106 points in their past two matches after a 60-8 flogging of the Roosters.

The spine - hooker Damien Cook, halves Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds and fullback Corey Allan - again played leading roles.

Walker, who scored a try and assisted another, was given the Bundaberg Rum Man of the Match award on Fox League but Bennett said it was a team effort.

"I didn't think [Cody] and Adam were quite as dynamic as they have been in other weeks," Bennett said.

"They were quite good, the pair of them, but other guys kind of took over them today. Damien did that, a couple of things that he did really set us on a roll.

Bennett unconcerned by Cook's leg injury

"I thought our forwards were tremendous again. Junior [Tatola] picked up two tries working through the middle there. They kind of spread it around a little more today which was pleasing."

Cook was hobbling at points in the second half and said he'd clashed knees with Ponga but hadn't done any serious damage.

That was apparent as he dashed 80 metres to claim his side's final four-pointer after Cameron Murray scooped up a loose ball 

"Can't say there was too much wrong with his ankle, can you? He was like a little rabbit running from hole to hole," Bennett said with a wry smile.

"He looked good when I just left him five minutes ago. He was telling everyone how good his try was."

Bennett reiterated South Sydney weren't distracted by serious allegations against former player Sam Burgess which are being investigated by the NRL Integrity Unit and NSW Police.

Burgess has stood down as an assistant coach.

No impact: Bennett hits out at 'distraction' suggestions

"It wasn't going to have an impact, it still hasn't and it won't," Bennett said.

"I'm just telling you, I coach the team and I know what's going on in the organisation."

After being beaten by the Titans last week and giving up a home final, Newcastle coach Adam O'Brien made some big pre-game calls with Kurt Mann moving to five-eighth, Chris Randall replacing him at starting hooker and Tex Hoy coming onto the bench.

An early captain's challenge went their way and the Knights seized the advantage with their flying start.

Walker crosses for himself

But momentum is so very fickle, more so than ever under the six-again rule, and it wasn’t long before South Sydney had all the running.

An Enari Tuala dropped ball was the turning point. The Rabbitohs promptly got on the board as Allan atoned for his blunder by beating Tuala to reach the in-goal area.

Walker then scored untouched having run a sweeping line before accepting a wonderfully held-up Reynolds pass.

Rabbitohs: Finals Week 1

Sign up for a free NRL Account to access this video and other exclusive content.

Sign Up

Already have an NRL Account?

Log In

Not sure?   Learn more about an NRL Account .

If there was a microcosm of the sometimes unbelievable first half, it came in the sequence when play restarted from that try.

Walker couldn't gather the kick-off, meaning South Sydney had to take a drop-out, but Reynolds managed to find touch right away and win back possession.

The Rabbitohs surged level when Reynolds and Walker combined on the left edge to deliver winger Alex Johnston his 21st try of 2020.

Cook streaks away for 80m try

Cook exploited the tired Knights defence four minutes from the break to edge his team ahead.

He exploded into a gap between second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon and lock Mitchell Barnett, who was slow to retreat, drawing in Ponga and linking with the supporting Murray.

Newcastle's completion rate nosedived in the second half and the last 20 minutes became a training run for the rampant Rabbitohs.

Prop Junior Tatola powered in for two tries either side of Johnston's second four-pointer before Cook capped the win in front of 17, 212 fans.

Hunt went in for his second as the siren sounded, allowing the retiring Aidan Guerra to kick the sideline goal as his final act as an NRL player.

Guerra converts from the sideline to end his career

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners