Souths have snapped a nine-match losing streak and restored some pride with a 41-22 thumping of the Warriors tonight at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
The loss sees the Warriors drop out of the top eight, and also did some damage to their for and against, which may end up costing them a semi-final spot at the end of Round 26.
The match was effectively over at half-time, with Souths turning in a first half performance that their fans have been craving all season, to head into the sheds leading 31-6 at the break.
The Warriors opened the scoring with Solomone Kata barging over the try line from close range in the opening minutes, but after that it was one-way traffic as the Rabbitohs ran in five unanswered tries.
Three of Souths’ first half tries were off grubber kicks, with Adam Reynolds’ kicking game and the enthusiastic Rabbitohs’ chasing exposing Warriors’ fullback Tui Lolohea’s positional play.
Reynolds went off with a hamstring injury 10 minutes into the second half. The Warriors scored three tries to one in the second half, but the damage had already been done.
Is this the start of another late-season Warriors’ fade out? Their next three games are the Cowboys (away), followed by the Tigers and Parramatta – both at home.
Try scorers (Souths): Joe Burgess (2), Alec Johnston, Aaron Gray, Greg Inglis, Hymel Hunt
Top metres gained (Souths): Sam Burgess 195, Greg Inglis 139, Tom Burgess 136
Top tacklers (Souths): Kyle Turner 38, Damien Cook 34, Zane Musgrove 23
Try scorers (Warriors): Solomone Kata (2), Manu Vatuvei, Jazz Tevaga
Top metres gained (Warriors): Ryan Hoffman 160, Solomone Kata 147, Manu Vatuvei 120
Top tacklers (Warriors): Simon Mannering 46, Bodene Thompson 37, Nathaniel Roache 34
The Roar’s NRL MVP votes
3 – Adam Reynolds (Souths). Only played 50 minutes before going off with a hamstring injury, but by the time he did, he’d already had thre try assists with his great kicking game to well and truly set up Souths victory.
2 – Sam Burgess (Souths). Easily made the most metres of any forward on the field with 195 to lay the platform for Souths’ attack.
1 – Shaun Johnson (Warriors). Was the only attacking spark in a well-beaten Warriors side.