NRL: Rabbitohs bounce back to beat Tigers

South Sydney have set up a final round blockbuster to decide the NRL minor premiership after overcoming an almighty scare to down Wests Tigers 32-18 last night. Photo / Getty Images.
South Sydney have set up a final round blockbuster to decide the NRL minor premiership after overcoming an almighty scare to down Wests Tigers 32-18 last night. Photo / Getty Images.

South Sydney have set up a final round blockbuster to decide the NRL minor premiership after overcoming an almighty scare to down Wests Tigers 32-18 last night.

The Rabbitohs will host arch-rivals Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium next Friday with the winner to finish the regular season in top spot - an epic entree ahead of a tantalising finals series.

It was a scenario which seemed a long way off when the Bunnies trailed 18-0 after just 14 minutes - the Tigers running in three tries while Englishman Sam Burgess spent ten minutes off the field for what seemed a harsh sin-binning.

He repaid his teammates with a powerful second-half try to lock things up at 18-all early in the second half - brother Luke completing a memorable night for the family with his first NRL try in the dying stages.

What shaped as a night of celebration as the four Burgess brothers took the field together for the first time - matching a feat not accomplished in 103 years - threatened to turn into a nightmare during the unexpected early onslaught.

Sam Burgess - in his first game back from a two-game suspension for his infamous squirrel grip on Melbourne's Will Chambers - was binned in just the fourth minute after laying down too long on James Tedesco after a long break.

By the time he ran back on after serving his time, Ben Murdoch-Masila was scoring the Tigers' third try in seven minutes.

A loss could have left the Bunnies struggling to hold onto second spot - but two tries before the break, including a late Dylan Farrell four-pointer after Lote Tuqiri had an airswing at cleaning up an Adam Reynolds kick, invited the visitors back into the contest.

While they were made to work for it - as evidenced by the fact Reynolds had to kick a 41 metres penalty goal to give them their first lead in the 66th minute - a Souths win always seemed likely from there.

And so it proved to be as Nathan Merritt and Luke Burgess crossed late, the latter's try sending mother Julie - sitting in owner Russell Crowe's private box - into hysterics.

It set up another special moment for the four brothers as Sam joined the other three on the field for the final minutes - one special set featuring five Burgess hit-ups.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 25 Dec 2014 20:17:11 Processing Time: 501ms