NRL: Warriors winning run comes to an end

By Michael Brown

Greg Inglis of the Rabbitohs runs with the ball during the round 17 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.
Greg Inglis of the Rabbitohs runs with the ball during the round 17 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors. Photo / Getty Images.

Rabbitohs 30
Warriors 13

The Warriors' winning run has come to an end but they didn't give it up easily as they pushed the competition leaders to the limit.

It means they have yet to win a match in Perth in five times of trying and, like too often before, they gave up a lead. They held a 13-6 advantage heading into the 67th minute but couldn't contain a Rabbitohs side marching towards their first minor premiership since 1989.

The final margin flattered Souths as Bryson Goodwin and then Chris McQueen finally broke the Warriors' resolve in the final minutes.

It won't be any consolation, but it was one of the best games of the season and as the Warriors ran out onto NIB Stadium in Perth tonight, the Imperial March from Star Wars played in the background. Opposition teams should fear them like most did Darth Vader, and their white strip made them look like stormtroopers. They tackled like them tonight.

It was a game befitting the two form sides of the competition and seemed to go in a blink of an eye as each side hammered and probed away. There was high skill, a bit of luck, some tough defence and great scrambling.

The Warriors were that little bit better in the first half and deserved their lead at the break but the Bunnies had most of the game in the second half as they refused to let their near-perfect record in 2013 have another blemish. They enjoyed some good fortune to go with their impressive performance.

Their first came after Adam Reynolds drop-kicked a poor pass over the Warriors defence and it bounced beautifully into the hands of of Andrew Everingham in the sixth minute and the second was scored by John Sutton who pounced on a ball pin-balling around from a high kick close to the Warriors' line. Souths have scored some brilliantly-worked tries this season but these two weren't in the playbook.

The defeat means the Warriors five-game winning run has come to an end and, just as importantly, means they are still outside the top eight. But they are gathering momentum heading into the back end of the competition and history proves teams who achieve that are dangerous.

Like they have in recent weeks, they played with efficiency but also with confidence and they were not afraid to give the ball some air.

Not only did they score two tries but Nathan Friend was held up over the line and Konrad Hurrell lost the ball going for the try. If they had managed another try before halftime, when they led 12-6, they might have gone on to win the game. At the very least, it would have pushed Souths to the limit.

The Warriors found joy attacking the Rabbitohs' left edge of John Sutton and Goodwin and it's where their first two tries were scored. The first went to Simon Mannering, who ran onto a clever, short pass from Shaun Johnson and then Hurrell barrelled his way over and through four Rabbitohs' defenders.

But the Rabbitohs are muscling their way through the competition as well and are seemingly just as unstoppable.

Rabbitohs 30 (Bryson Goodwin 2, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Chris McQueen tries; Adam Reynolds 5 gls) Warriors 13 (Simon Mannering; Konrad Hurrell tries; Shaun Johnson 2 gls, fg). HT: 6-13.

- APNZ

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