After last weekend’s chaotic golden point loss, South Sydney sorely needed a comfortable win – and got exactly what it was looking for.
Such was its dominance against a disinterested Warriors team, superstar Latrell Mitchell was taken off at the hour mark with the Bunnies 38 points in front.
“It’s a big step in the right direction,” Mitchell told Fox League after the 48-10 win.
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“Last week didn’t work out how we wanted, but we played the way we wanted… all the boys kicked another gear, which we wanted.”
While speaking, he put an arm around halfback Lachlan Ilias and praised him for his performance – another, like Mitchell, who needed a bounce-back game after last week.
Ilias got the opening try of the day while Mitchell collected two of his own, the first particularly impressive as he skittled several Warriors players on his way to the line.
Then there was the basketball pass to Alex Johnston, and the no-look cut-out ball to debutant Izaac Thompson, who crossed for a four-pointer in his first NRL game.
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But it’s telling how much they rely on their fullback, the Rabbitohs not scoring a point in the final 20 minutes of the game after he was subbed off.
The only real point of interest in the dying stages came as a pitch invader delayed the final siren, as an excited Souths bench cheered him on, led by Mitchell.
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The decision to move games away from home can always end poorly – but not so here for Souths, who moved operations up to the Sunshine Coast five days in advance to prepare for this game.
“I’m really enjoying the training and the boys’ time,” Mitchell said.
“We came up here on Tuesday to connect a bit more and I think it showed tonight.”
But with the Warriors in the rear-view mirror now, they’ll stay in Sydney for the final four matches of the season – a murderer’s row of Parramatta, Penrith, North Queensland and arch-rivals Sydney awaiting them.
But if Mitchell can play like this – as he did in previous wins over the likes of the Eels, Storm and Bulldogs – it’s hard for other teams to match Souths’ attacking output, and hard to see many teams stopping the Rabbitohs on the charge in Sept.
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