A late conversion by Issac Luke, the only successful attempt at goal in eighty minutes, has earned the South Sydney Rabbitohs a 14-12 victory over the Dyldam Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
In swirling wind and wet conditions, the low-scoring Round 11 clash tested both side’s persistence and handling for the full 80 minutes.
South Sydney made an impact early with a beautiful kick from John Sutton sitting up for Aaron Gray to score in the ninth minute in the corner, but a definitively unsuccessful attempt at goal left them with a slim 4-0 lead.
Halfback Luke Kelly sent up a high bomb in the 15th minute in attack, to be collected by winger Semi Radradra and offloaded to centre Brad Takairangi on the left edge to score.
Sandow as as challenged by the weather as Luke, tying the match up at 4 points apiece.
The Blue and Gold absorbed some aggressive South Sydney attack late in the half, before leveraging two consecutive penalties into a short-side play, and a try to Reece Robison in the opposite corner on the next tackle.
The Eels were offered an opportunity to extend their lead to six points in the 39th minute thanks to a penalty for a second effort on second-rower Pauli Pauli, but Sandow was unable to land the penalty goal.
Leading 8-4 after the break, the Rabbitohs applied set after set of pressure with back-to-back penalties, breaking the Eels defence in the 55th minute for Aaron Gray to score his second of the night.
And while the Eels found success again with the high ball with a Manu Ma’u try, winger Reece Robinson was equally unlucky with his attempt at goal, giving the Blue and Gold just a 12-8 lead.
And as the clock wound down the final six minutes, an error on the Eels try line in defence proved fatal. Hooker Cameron McInnes was too quick with the ball in hand and slipped through to ground the ball under the posts and level the scores. At last, Issac Luke landed the first conversion of the game, and it sealed the Eels fate, giving South Sydney a 14-12 victory.
Eels prop Peni Terepo was unable to return for the second half of the match with a suspected injury to his pectoral muscle, while South Sydney forward Ben Lowe was taken from the field in the 11th minute.
South Sydney Rabbitohs - 14 (Gray 2, McInnes. Luke: 1/3)
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 12 (Radradra, Robinson, Ma’u. Sandow: 0/2, Robinson: 0/1. Penalty Goals - Sandow: 0/1)