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Latrell crushes Warriors to move Souths into top four contention

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6th August, 2022
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Latrell Mitchell inspired a South Sydney smash up of the New Zealand Warriors, grabbing two points and a vital for/against swing in the process.

The 48-10 scoreline looks big and still doesn’t do justice to the gulf between the two teams. This was the most one-sided game of the year so far. Even the Warriors record defeat to Melbourne on Anzac weekend was closer than this.

Mitchell was imperious: two tries and a two try assists, plus a perfect eight from eight with the boot before he was given an early mark with an hour gone.

The win jumps the Bunnies back above the Roosters and puts them onto 12 wins, nominally assuring their presence in the top eight. The 28-point margin also adds a buffer on both the Broncos, whom they leapfrog into sixth, and next week’s opponents Parramatta, in fifth. Win next week and the top four is well within reach.

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“Everyone talks about the draw but the beauty of what we’ve got at the back end is that teams are going to influence where we finish,” said Souths coach Jason Demetriou.

“It’s on us and every two points will decide where we finish at the end of the year, and there’s another two points up for grabs next week against a team that’s playing some good footy as well.”

It would be easy to say that the Warriors threw in the towel, but in truth, their defence for Lachlan Ilias’ opener in the third minute set the tone. All too often, simple effort areas and tacking intensity failed them. The Kiwis can’t wait for this season to end.

“Since I’ve taken over in this role that’s probably the most disappointed I’ve been,” said Stacey Jones, the interim Warriors coach.

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“I just want to see some real care in the jersey. I saw that for a month before. I saw some real care in the jersey. Tonight, I didn’t.”

That Ilias try was ominous. The halfback was presented with a clear run to the line from ten metres out as the Warriors seemed to ignore the man in possession while awaiting a move through shape.

They did the same again in the ninth minute, allowing Cameron Murray to waltz straight down the middle and find Damien Cook for another.

Murray then laid one on a plate for Junior Tatola. before Ilias did the same for Keaon Koloamatangi. The scoreline was outpacing the clock.

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The Kiwis did post one of their own through Marcelo Montoya, but within two minutes, Souths had took it back through Mitchell.

His first summed up the Warriors as much as it did Souths: Addin Fonua-Blake allowed Jai Arrow to offload to his fullback, who battered through dispirited tackling from Tohu Harris and Bunty Afoa for a far-too-easy try.

Latrell then pulled off two pieces of magic either side of the break, tapping smartly for the obligatory Alex Johnston try, before supplying an excellent long pass that got Isaac Thompson over the line on NRL debut at the age of 25.

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Shaun Johnson did get another for the Warriors before Mitchell got his final bow, wandering over through non-existent defending. He departed and Souths put in the cue in the rack.

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