NRL Round 13 – South Sydney v Canberra: Another loss!

 

 

 

 

Rabbit in the Vineyard: 2023 NRL Round 13

 

South Sydney DRLFC v Canberra,
Sydney Olympic Stadium,
Saturday 27 May, 7:30pm

 

ANOTHER LOSS!

 

The Origin period has begun. Souths were without: Cam Murray, Latrell, and the Queensland poster boy, Jai Arrow for this game. The NRL’s form centre, Campbell Graham, was out of this game injured, after leaving the NSW Origin camp on Monday, injured.  The dynamic Keon Kolomatungi returned after six weeks out, along with Latrell’s brother Shaquai. The 2021 Grand Final fullback, Blake ‘Splinters’ Taaffe, rumoured to be Canberra-bound, was finally in the run on side.

Canberra, apart from their Round 12 loss to Manly, certainly had been in a rich vein of form, having won their previous five games.

Souths started well enough, with Cody throwing a sublime pass, this time to Jed Cartwright, Campbell Graham’s replacement in the centres, to open the scoring.

This early try only seemed to ‘poke the bear’. Josh Papali’i lead from the front, with the entire Raiders pack following. Cory Horsburgh had a point to prove to the Origin selectors. The big Raiders pack ran rampant and off-loaded at will. Three quick tries, exposing Souths’ edge defence, gave the Raiders a convincing lead.

Alex Johnston scored the first of two tries for the night, to give optimistic Souths fans some hope.

After half time, Souths did lift in some of what coaches now refer to as effort areas: defensive intensity, line speed, and pressurising the opposition kicker.

Cody certainly took it upon himself to lift the team. His pass to centre Isaiah Tass was, again, poetry in motion.

Johnston crossed again in the fiftieth minute.

There was a sense of inevitability about the Raiders in this contest. Their running game was damaging, particularly through the middle of the field. Jack Wighton, a Souths player from 2024 onwards, had a whale of a game.

In another sign of Souths’ defensive lapses, winger Albert Hopoate crossed for a hat trick of tries.

The contest ended at five tries all. Souths did have the opportunity to ‘close the game out’, (more coach speak), after we hit the lead with eight minutes remaining through a Damien Cook try.

More poor edge defence saw Canberra deservedly reclaim the lead.

Canberra thoroughly deserved this win. They rallied after seeing their teammate Corey Harawira-Naera leave the field on a medi-cab.

Coach Demetriou lamented Souths’ inability to ‘close the game out’ after leading in the final minutes.

I wonder if the eleven tries conceded in the last two weeks is also a concern.

Given, in the three previous weeks, we held the Tigers scoreless, held our nemesis, the Storm, to two tries, and held the Broncos to a solitary try … the past two games have been quite a contrast in defence.

In the spirit of the ‘Compassionate Systems Framework’ professional development that I am a part of at present: three positives from Saturday night:

  1. The debut of Tallis Duncan. Souths player 1190. Yes, his father’s favourite player was Gorden Tallis!
  2. The successful returns of Shaqai Mitchell and Keon Kolomatungi.
  3. Alex Johnston moving to within one try of Brett Morris on the all-time try scoring list.

 

The George Piggins-Mario Fenech inspirational play of the match: Cody, both on and off the field. His passing game was sublime again. His press conference was also classy. Cody’s words around the Corey Harawira-Naera incident were also classy and respectful.

 

The Michael Andrews work rate award: welcome back Keon Kolomatungi! After being out for six weeks, the big man played eighty minutes, and was one of the few Souths forwards not to be dominated by the Canberra pack in the first half.

 

The Phil Blake ‘chip n chase’ best attacking moment: Cody’s magic for Isaiah Tass’ try. Souths did start the second half well and needed to after being dominated in the first forty minutes. Add to this Cody’s pass for Cartwright’s try, as well as his kick from dummy half for Cook’s try … Cody had a night out, in a beaten side.

The next few weeks become more important after back to back losses. Souths now sit outside the top four, after leading the competition after shutting out the Tigers in round eleven.

The Titans (away), then the Dragons (away) before, finally, our first bye of the season in round sixteen, continue this tricky Origin period.

 

Full time: Canberra 33 d South Sydney DRLFC 26

 

Round 13 R.I.T.V. player of the year points:

3- Cody Walker

2-  Keon Kolomatangi

1 – Alex Johnston

 

PROGRESSIVE R.I.T.V. PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS – LEADER BOARD:

10: Campbell Graham

8: Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker

7: Keon Kolomatangi

6: Lachlan Ilias, Junior Tetola

5: Hame Sele, Thomas Burgess

4:  Jai Arrow, Davvy Moale

3: Cameron Murray, Alex Johnston and Isaiah Tass

2: Damien Cook, Taane Milne

1: Shaqai Mitchell

 

The Rabbit in the Vineyard, Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, South Australia

 

 

 

Read more from Rabbit in the Vineyard HERE.

 

Russel Hansen

Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country.

He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships.

He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters.  

 

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About Russel Hansen

Russel Hansen Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country. He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad (100m personal best 10.34secs) to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships. He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters. Twitter: @Russel_Hansen

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