The second game last Sunday was another cracker as the Rabbitohs claimed a comprehensive win ahead of the previously in-form Panthers, pushing Penrith out of the number two spot with a 42 – 22 victory at ANZ Stadium.
Sitting firmly in number five on the ladder, South Sydney enjoyed their sixth win of the season after they lost in a tight 26 – 24 game against the Warriors in Round 11. Although hit and miss this season, the Bunnies are really starting to show some top form and move ever closer to a spot in the top four.
Meanwhile the Panthers were stopped short of securing their third straight win, giving up their second position on the ladder dropping down a rank as they struggled without instrumental skipper Petero Civoniceva who broke his hand in the Origin series opener last Wednesday night.
The Bunnies began their attack in the 14th minute when big Dave Taylor scored the opening try of the game and the faultless Issac Luke converted giving them a six point lead.
The Panthers matched this with a try of their own six minutes later, Brad Tighe getting over before Michael Gordon kicked it through the posts so the score was tied six all after the first quarter.
For the remainder of the first half the Rabbitohs totally dominated, gaining some powerful momentum and running in three unanswered tires.
The first went to John Sutton in the 24th minute, followed by Luke’s 29th minute effort and then fullback Rhys Wesser, a former Penrith player who had a super impressive performance on Sunday, scored his first try of the game in the 33rd minute.
Luke showed off his kicking skills, converting from all over the field, to make it four from four in the first half and the Rabbitohs headed to the break with a comfortable 24 – 6 lead.
In the opening seconds of the second half the Panthers dashed any hopes of a big comeback when they lost the ball on the second tackle, opening the way for Wesser to storm through for his second match try two minutes in.
Luke converted again with ease and the home team’s lead ballooned out to 30 – 6.
Five minutes later in-form Panthers fullback Lachlan Coote, whose efforts on Sunday were some of the best of any player on the field, got in a great four-pointer, but Gordon missed the kick and they still trailed 30 – 10.
Penrith looked to be in the game when Gavin Cooper scored again six minutes later, the kick bringing them within 14 points.
This was followed with another brilliant display from Coote, who made it a match double in the 65th minute and Gordon’s conversion had them trailing by two tries with 15 minutes still to play.
But before the visitors could do any more damage Chris Sandow scored four minutes later for the home side, and then in the final minute of play Beau Champion put the result beyond doubt with a 79th minute try, Luke making it a perfect record of seven from seven to give them a total score of 42 to the Panthers 22 points.
In Round 13 the Rabbitohs face off against the lacklustre Cowboys on Monday night and have our vote while the Panthers will try to regain their momentum when they play the Knights. Visit Ladbrokes.com.au for the best odds on these games and for all your other Rugby League betting.