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Bunnies big guns fire warning shot in Eels shutout

The Rabbitohs have leapfrogged Parramatta into fifth place on the ladder with an impressive 26-0 win at CommBank Stadium on Friday night.

With Alex Johnston and Cody Walker grabbing doubles the Rabbitohs beat the Eels for the second time in seven weeks to reinforce their premiership credentials.

The Rabbitohs got the ball rolling in the fifth minute when Damien Cook found Walker from close range and the five-eighth caught the Eels defence flat footed on their own line.

Walker got across the line again in the 11th minute but the came loose as he was attempting to ground it and the Eels were off the hook.

Two minutes later and there was no doubt about second-gamer Izaac Thompson's try in the right hand corner courtesy of some sweet hands from Kaeon Koloamatangi.

Come the 27th minute and the Rabbitohs had a third for the night when Cameron Murray, Walker and Isaiah Tass combined to send Alex Johnston over for the 160th try of his career.

Johnston just keeps scoring

The Eels came out of the sheds a different team in the second half and mounted several attacking raids but the Rabbitohs held firm and worked their way back up field where Johnston bagged his second for the night in the 56th minute and Latrell Mitchell's sideline conversion made it 20-0.

Some classy lead-up play by Reed Mahoney and Shaun Lane looked to have opened the door for the Eels to post their first try in the 63rd minute but the final pass from Tom Opacic to Maika Sivo was called forward.

Walker continues the Rabbitohs rout

Sivo was denied again in the 69th minute when he knocked on in-goal after chasing a kick and the Rabbitohs capitalised soon after when Walker completed his double after Waqa Blake made a meal of a Dean Hawkins bomb.

Try as they might the Eels were unable to crack the Rabbitohs' line and Jason Demetriou's men rounded out one of their best wins of the season on the back of resolute defence and some class attack.

Match Snapshot

  • The Eels lost their captain's challenge in the 20th minute when they contested a knock-on call and came up empty.
  • Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston has scored 17 tries in his past nine games. 
  • Such was the Rabbitohs' dominance of possession in the first half they had 109 runs to Parramatta's 70 and made 1205 metres to 717.
  • Cameron Murray continued his outstanding season for the Bunnies with 22 runs for 189 metres and 42 tackles.
  • Eels forward Marata Niukore left the field for a HIA in the 54th minute. He passed and returned to the field to finish with 139 run metres.

Thompson flies in for a try

  • Alex Johnston is now eighth on the all time premiership tryscoring list behind Ken Irvine, Billy Slater, Steve Menzies, Brett Morris, Andrew Ettingshausen, Terry Lamb and Brett Stewart.
  • Shaun Lane ran for 179 metres and had three tackle breaks in a strong performance for the Eels.
  • The Rabbitohs have won their past six games against the Eels.
  • The last time the Eels were held scoreless was round 20 last year against the Roosters in Mackay (28-0).
  • Latrell Mitchell ran for 211 metres and had 10 tackle breaks in another dominant display for Souths. 
  • The Rabbitohs' back five combined for 871 running metres.​

Latrell's warning shot to the competition

Play of the Game

Alex Johnston's second try for the night and 25th for the season was another beautifully crafted effort from the Rabbitohs' left edge. Damien Cook sent a long ball from dummy half to Cody Walker who found fullback Latrell Mitchell who delivered a sublime cut-out pass to his winger who finished the move off. Again.

161 and counting: AJ climbs to No.8 all time

What They Said

"I would say that was our most ruthless performance. The longer the game went our defensive resolve grew, we really enjoyed the 'zero' tonight. We felt Parramatta were going to be up for it tonight and come after us early and we had to stand in the centre of the ring and meet them and I thought we did that. The amount of pressure we were able to absorb and then come away with points down the other end was telling in the end. It's that motivation and confidence to hold your nerve at key times [in defence] and sometimes it's about the efforts you have to make to save your mate as much as your system and the boys will get a lot out of that." - Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou

Rabbitohs: Round 22

"Physically we were well off the pace, through the middle, first kick-off they rolled 60 metres. We didn't go to the contest through the middle of the field physically, they just rolled us too easily, bounced out of tackles and six tackles turned into sets of 10 or 11 each time. We gave them too much ball early and that really hurt us. There has to be a real want and desire to start that way and put your body on the line and it was obvious we didn't have it. If you're not going to be physical it doesn't matter who you're playing, you don't give yourself a chance. We lacked it badly." - Eels coach Brad Arthur

Eels: Round 22

What's Next

The Eels host the Bulldogs at CommBank Stadium in Round 23 and will be hoping star playmaker Mitch Moses can return from a finger injury. They face the Broncos in Brisbane in Round 24 and finish the home-and-away season with a huge home game against the Storm to open Round 25.

The Rabbitohs open Round 23 with a home game against the Panthers at Accor Stadium and should have Thomas Burgess back on deck with Campbell Graham also a chance to return. In Round 24 they host the Cowboys at Accor and in Round 25 they take on arch-rivals the Roosters in the first NRL match at the new Allianz Stadium.


Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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