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Opinion

Cody Walker hands Alex Johnston another hat-trick as the Rabbitohs produce a scrappy win

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12th June, 2021
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The South Sydney Rabbitohs got the win despite it being a scrappy affair from both the Bunnies and the Newcastle Knights but with Alex Johnston scoring another hattrick,he’s up to seven for his career and now is tied with Melbourne Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr for most tries this season.

Congratulations to Peter Mamouzelos who made his debut for the Rabbitohs and made it a memorable one after getting the win over the Knights. The 20-year-old dummy-half, who has been learning from Damien Cook, played 33 minutes and made 21 tackles for the one miss coming off the bench.

The Rabbitohs left-edge attack was on show with Johnston’s hattrick and five-eighth Cody Walker had two try assists along with centre Braidon Burns showing some nice passing skills to set up Johnston in the corner. I have questioned Burns’ defence a lot over the past few years but tonight the Bunnies centre showed good defensive reads and made 12 tackles for zero misses.

Fullback and NSW origin centre Latrell Mitchell backed up well for the Bunnies after his two-try performance for the Blues running for 192 metres, breaking two tackles and adding two linebreaks but he had four errors. I’m sure he will bounce back after a four-day rest because the red and green play the Broncos next Thursday.

Campbell Graham once again was good in defence after making 21 tackles for two misses, but he looked off tonight. Then again both the Rabbitohs and the Knights were off tonight on a wet night up at Stadium Australia.

Rabbitohs second-row forward Keaon Koloamatangi, who was added to the NSW Blues extended bench prior to Origin I this season, continued his form that got him added after he was the only starting forward to run for over 100 metres with 141 and made 30 tackles with zero misses. Ten Rabbitohs players had no missed tackles which is an incredible statistic considering the conditions.

The Knights started the game poorly after an early error from Tex Hoy off a bomb kick which led to an Alex Johnston try, but the Knights stayed in the fight until halftime. Jacob and Daniel Saifiti both played really well with the brothers combing for nearly 300 metres and 90 tackles.

Knights halfback Jake Clifford showed that he has a really good kicking game with a few high bombs, torpedo kicks and floaters which forced multiple errors from the Rabbitohs’ backline. Winger Dominic Young scored his first try in the NRL but then really slowed down after centre Bradman Best went off early in the second half with an ankle injury.

Mitch Barnett was good coming off the bench for Newcastle with a strong stint of 60 minutes, 122 run metres and 40 tackles with only one miss. The Knights are expected to receive players like Kayln Ponga, Mitchell Pearce, Hymel Hunt and others back in the next few weeks. The Knights take on the Warriors next Saturday.

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