NRL Round 23: South Sydney Rabbitohs v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks – Power supply issues

 

 

 South Sydney DRLFC v Cronulla-Sutherland
Optus Stadium, Perth
Saturday 5 August, 7:30pm

 

The late season surge update: On hold

 

A typically cool August Saturday in the Barossa.

The fire was lit early afternoon and was required well into the evening!

The game day curry pie from the exceptional Tanunda Apex Bakery was a great winter warmer.

In front of the fire, watching the Bunnies TV live stream of Souths NSW cup side, featuring names such as Blake Taaffe and Shaquai Mitchell, play a great half of football to turn a ten-all half time score into a 32-16 win at the iconic Redfern Oval, we were in hope of a good NRL showing in Perth.

Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.

Pre-match, coach Demetriou seemed to speak from the same notes as last week, talking about ‘building connections.’

The Sharks were aiming to get their finals campaign on track after three straight losses, including 0-28 last week v Penrith, with halfback Nicko Hynes, one of Brad Fittler’s many Origin discards, under pressure.

Souths obliged with a combination of ineffectual defence, particularly allowing the Sharks to offload, seemingly at will, along with poor discipline, and clunky attack.

Hynes certainly played himself back into form.

Winger Sione Katoa found acres of space down Souths’ left side, in the process stepping around Latrell in very dynamic fashion.

Once again, the alarm bells were ringing.

Ringing loudly.

Cronulla took a comfortable 14-0 lead into the spacious Optus Stadium sheds at half-time.

After half-time, the Sharks skipped out to a convincing 26-0 lead.

Cody’s opposite number Brayden Trindall was also having a night out, scoring twice.

Souths finally got on to the score sheet in the 63rd minute through Alex Johnston.

Two quick tries to Lachlan Ilias and Isaiah Tass gave the scoreboard some respectability, perhaps?

There is no escaping the monumental fall from the top of the ladder since Round 11, Souths winning only three games since.

Coach Demetriou’s post-match comments included the line of ‘challenging the team to make a (very quick) decision about how much the 2023 season means to them.’

Only three games remain in the 2023 season.

Souths have not missed the finals since 2017 and have played in the Preliminary Final every season from 2018–2022, including the 2021 Grand Final heartbreaker in Brisbane, during the Wayne Bennett era.

I hope Geoff Toovey is available to head up the investigation.

The 2023 team includes the following NSW Origin representatives: Cameron Murray, Damien Cook, Cody (player of the match in Game 3), Keon Koloamatangi, Latrell, and Campbell Graham was on the NSW short list before injury. Jai Arrow is a Queensland Origin representative.

2023 has also seen the emergence of talent such as Tallis Duncan and Tyrone Munro.

Premiership favourites in the opinion of many experts pre-season, as well as after Round 11, following wins over the Storm, Penrith, and the Broncos.

A win against the Dragons in the far north of Queensland this Saturday would be a step in the right direction.

Personally, I’m still recovering from Souths last meeting with the Dragons: the high scoring (30-36) Round 15 loss at Kogarah.

Yes, there were many ‘first choice’ players unavailable that day, however, the (apparent) complacent attitude that afternoon, particularly in defence, and in other ‘effort areas’, for this rusted on Souths member, typified the season since Round 11.

The apparent mind set of ‘if the opposition scores 36 points, we will score 38 to win’ hasn’t been effective.

Will the end of season surge, with Latrell back, restart in Cairns on Saturday?

 

The Tony Rampling-Les Davidson tackle of the week:

The much improved Isaiah Tass, about 11 minutes before half-time, with Souths left side defence again under the pump. Tass pulled off a great try saver on Connor Tracey.

 

The Mario Fenech-George Piggins inspirational play (er) of the day:

The shining light for Souths was young gun Tallis Duncan.

Twenty-one years old, in only his fourth NRL appearance, Duncan again showed great toughness and neat footwork.

He made a long break in the final moments of the game. Unfortunately, there were no speedy outside backs looming up in support.

 

The Michael Andrews work rate award:

At the risk of repeating myself, the skipper, Cameron Murray was again immense last night: 43 tackles, ran for 128m. Leads by example.  Another three points in the Rabbit in the Vineyard Player of the Year for the energetic lock forward.

If only some of his teammates would follow his lead.

Worthy to name your golden retriever after!

 

The Phil Blake ‘chip n chase’ best attacking moment:

Lachlan Ilias’ try in the 64th minute. A great cross kick from Alex Johnston saw Ilias catch the ball on the full and score under the posts.

The Leyland Brothers tour now shifts to Cairns, North Queensland for Saturday’s clash with the Illawarra-St George Dragons, Hame Sele’s club for 2024 and beyond.

 

Full time: Cronulla-Sutherland 26 d South Sydney DRLFC 16

South Sydney’s points: tries – Johnston 26’, Ilias 64’, Tass 73’. Goals: Latrell 2/3.

Half-time: Cronulla-Sutherland 14-0

 

Crowd: 45, 814. Optus Stadium, Perth.

 

Remaining 2023 games:

Round 24 v Illawarra-St George, Cairns on Saturday 12 August, 3pm

Round 25 v Newcastle, Newcastle on Sunday 20 August 2pm

Round 26 BYE

Round 26 v Eastern Suburbs, Friday 1 September, Sydney Olympic Stadium, 8pm

Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf4Kh2yGxN0

 

Round 23 R.I.T.V. player of the year points:

3- Cam Murray

2- Tallis Duncan

1 – Isaiah Tass

 

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

12: Campbell Graham

11: Cameron Murray

10: Hame Sele, Cody Walker and Keon Koloamatungi

9: Jai Arrow, Blake Taaffe and Junior Tetola

8: Latrell Mitchell

6: Lachlan Ilias

5: Thomas Burgess

4: Isaiah Tass, Alex Johnston, Damien Cook and Davvy Moale

2: Tallis Duncan, Savili Havili, and Taane Milne

1: Tyrone Munro and Shaquai Mitchell

 

 

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 PB 10.24secs) 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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