As expected, the South Sydney Rabbitohs comfortably disposed of the lowly Parramatta Eels. Robert Jennings, marked by his brothers Michael and George, scored four tries for the cardinal and myrtle, while Alex Johnston and Hymel Hunt got in on the try-scoring action too.
1 Eels their own worst enemy
Parramatta got off to a fantastic start to this game. They looked sharp and were dominating the opening exchanges with big runs from Nathan Brown and uncharacteristically quick service from dummy-half Cameron King. Off the back of this, they were able to open the scoring with a try to Josh Hoffman after just 4 minutes. What followed was the story of the Eels’ 2018 season.
Adam Reynolds launched a kick-off to the Eels’ back left corner. It was misjudged terribly by Josh Hoffman and Manu Ma’u as it bounced and went into touch. Rabbitohs’ scrum-feed followed by a try. South Sydney up 6-4.
The Eels hit back pretty quickly through George Jennings, and again as Peni Terepo made a superb offload to Bevan French. 14-6 to Parramatta in the 26th minute.
And that’s when it all went pear-shaped as the Rabbitohs scored 6 unanswered tries. Parramatta did hit back eventually through Jarryd Hayne and Josh Hoffman in the 68th and 75th minutes, respectively. But it was too little too late for the hapless Eels, who succumbed to their 12th loss of the season.
2 Jennings brothers awful in defence
In defense, it was certainly a night to forget for all 3 Jennings brothers! After 4 tries to younger brother Robert, the Michael and George combination was deemed so inept by coach Brad Arthur, that George was forced to swap wings with Josh Hoffman late in the second half!
Two of those tries came from scrum feeds! That means the defense was 6 on 6 at the start of the play! Both were poor reads by Michael, who rushed up unnecessarily leaving as George with little choice but to rush up too. This gave Robert a free run to the line both times.
Then, to complete the trifecta, Robert got in on the act by deciding that the great Greg Inglis needed help to stop Clint Gutherson. This left Robert’s wing wide open for brother George to scamper in for one of the easiest tries he’ll ever score.
3 Referees finally put the whistle away
It’s quite clear that the contrast between the football played in Origin 1 and in round 14 of the NRL has caused a rethink from NRL HQ regarding the “nitpicking” from referees.
It was fantastic to see just 11 penalties blown all game. Obviously I cannot speak for everyone, but I wasn’t confused by a single penalty awarded.
Of course it is unrealistic to expect 5 penalties per game like in Origin last week. Of course there are bound to be large penalty counts peppered throughout a season. But these games should be the exception rather than the rule, and they’ve certainly been the rule this season. Let’s hope that tonight was a sign of things to come!
4 Adam Reynolds’ torpedoes cause mass destruction
What a destructive night it was for that missile Launchpad otherwise known as Adam Reynolds’ right boot! Josh Hoffman will be having nightmares about it for weeks to come!
Adam Reynolds has long been known for his dangerous short kicking game and his ability to put sides under pressure by producing repeat sets. It’s only in recent times that his long kicking game has reached the same standard – now it’s time for opposition wingers and fullbacks to take shelter as a barrage of Reynolds torpedo bombs rains down from the heavens.
This kick is unbelievably difficult for opposition players to judge. It can even cause damage when launched from inside his half of the field. When South Sydney are under pressure in tight games later in the season, look for Reynolds to pull this little rabbit out of the hat as he looks to force an error from the opposition and win back possession for his team.
5 Nathan Brown fantastic in a poor team
In an Eels side that has struggled immensely this year, Nathan Brown is one of just a few players who can genuinely take pride in his performance.
He took on a typically heavy workload tonight, making 154m (including 58 post-contact) from just 13 runs in 71 minutes – the most of any forward on the field and third overall. In defense he was everywhere as well, making a whopping 30 tackles.
This kind of effort from Brown has been present all year. One cannot help but wonder if the Italian international could have come into Brad Fittler’s State of Origin calculations had he been playing in a better team.
While there are several forwards ahead of him in the pecking order at this stage, he certainly wouldn’t let anyone down. Could be an option if injuries strike.
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