South Sydney Rabbitohs kept their season alive with a second half blitz which saw them down Parramatta Eels 38-24 tonight at Bankwest Stadium.
Much like their theme rung around Bankwest after full0time, South Sydney marches on in the 2020 Premiership. The Rabbitohs scored five second half tries to overcome a spirited Eels side and continue their run, once again shrugged off their sluggish start again.
Mitchell Moses will be replaying his penalty goal miss for years to come. Moses had an easy kick to lock the game back up at 20-all after the momentum swung like a rusty gate between the top powerhouse sides. His kick rebounded off the post, Souths went down the other end and went eight ahead through Bayley Sironen.
The Rabbitohs have shown throught their two finals games thus far, scoring 104 points, they are never out of the contest. Against the benchmark Panthers, they will need all the weapons in their arsenal if they want to dream about an unlikely Grand Final appearance.
It is another season of what ifs for the Eels. The blue-and-gold led the competition at the halfway mark, but ended up finishing third. Tonight they showed resillience despite some off-field drama during the week and game-day and gave a hard performance. The Eels led both their finals games but will crash out in straight sets and will rue their misfortune again for another year.
Before that, the Eels like they did last weekend were in the battle. The home side were shocked by the opening try by Jaxon Paulo and a pair of Adam Reynolds goals. Clint Gutherson spirited the Eels back into the contest with a four-pointer then he sent George Jennings across to make it 12-8 Eels.
Both sides traded blows for the rest of the first half. Gutherson got himself a double with a slicing run to make it 18-8 at the break. The Rabbitohs walked off the field haggard and haphazard but still within reach of the contest.
The Rabbitohs showed right off the restart, they had some wise words from Wayne Bennett in the sheds. Damien Cook, who tortured the Eels defensive line all night, set up the first of his two try-assists for Liam Knight to stroll in. They went back-to-back when Reynolds got through the line and Cameron Murray put the Rabbitohs ahead, 20-18.
Following Moses' miss, the Rabbitohs put the contest to bed quickly. Sironen, Paulo for his second and Cook himself all gave the healthy away support some cheer as the Rabbitohs rocked to another preliminary final and made it straight sets eliminations for both third and fourth spot.
Now it sets up a tantilising qualifer between the peerless Panthers and the rampaging Rabbitohs next weekend back at the Olympic stadium in Sydney. For the Eels, the counter adds another year to their quest for that elusive Premiership since 1986.