NRL: Bunnies as good as done after Penrith loss

Greg Inglis of the Rabbitohs watches on during the round 16 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Photo / Getty Images
Greg Inglis of the Rabbitohs watches on during the round 16 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Photo / Getty Images

South Sydney are gone.

Mark down a cold, windy night at the foot of the mountains when Souths' 2016 campaign was officially buried.

The biggest concern was the fact their two superstars - Greg Inglis and Sam Burgess - tried their absolute guts out, and still couldn't inspire their teammates.

Souths remain stranded on 12 competition points.

Should they lose to North Queensland next Sunday in Cairns, find another team to barrack for. You could do worse and jump on the Penrith bandwagon.

Bunnies coach Michael Maguire wasn't thinking about a pre-September exit.

"What happens in the future I can't control, but I can control what we do this week," Maguire said.

"The players are putting a lot of work in, we're just not getting the rewards.

"We're still alive in this competition. We get a number of our players back over a period of time, I'm pleased with the effort of our team, we just need to be focused around certain areas of our game. If we do that, this competition is wide open."

Souths started well with their completions, and dug in defensively at different stages when Penrith seemed to be forever camped in front of their tryline.

They did a good job to contain Bryce Cartwright in the first half, but Maguire admitted they dropped off him later in the game.

Inglis was shifted to left centre and showed no signs of a Queensland Origin hangover.
Just as he did on Wednesday night, Inglis ran the ball hard and always looked a threat out wide.

He went looking for work. He was regularly in the ear of new recruit and winger Joe Burgess. Inglis up-ended James Fisher-Harris and smashed the Kiwi on to his back.
He stepped back inside Cartwright with ease to score.

Even when the Bunnies trailled 28-18 when Burgess strolled over for the first of his two tries, Inglis was the first one to rev up his mates and urged them to race back down field and get set for the kick-off.

Burgess carted the ball up for more than 200m and was rewarded with a try-scoring double for his consistent support play.

He terrorised little Nathan Cleary early, even though the Panthers' teenage halfback doing well to hold his nerve.

The return of powerhouse Englishman Burgess, and presence of Inglis, meant Souths were always going to win more matches than they were going to lose.

Or at least that's what most in rugby league believed before the season kicked off.

What a shame Inglis and Burgess won't be two of the drawcards in September.

Mathematically the Bunnies remain a hope. The heavy congestion in the middle of the NRL ladder will give the Souths' tragics some hope.

But put a red pen through them.

At least they are a chance to get Adam Reynolds back next week.

No Glory Glory Glory.

- news.com.au

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