Round 1 - Full Time :: March 19th, 2007 Roosters 6 defeated by Rabbitohs 18
The visitors started strongly in the battle of the two foundation clubs, with some great defence laying the groundwork for some exciting attack. Two quick tries between the tenth and twentieth minutes saw the Bunnies get up to an early 12-0 lead, with one of the tries courtesy of a sensational effort from Vagana to keep the bull in the field of play by just centimetres.
No more points were managed before the halftime break as both teams began to drop the ball as the rain started falling across Aussie Stadium. Souths took their 12-0 lead to the halftime break, and little seemed to change after the teams returned to the field.
Just 5 minutes into the second half an obstruction penalty against the Roosters provided a further two points to the Rabbitohs lead. They held the 14-point gap until the home side finally broke through after 61 minutes, with Josh Lewis pouncing on a Nathan Merritt drop-ball to score underneath the sticks. The momentum failed to carry for the Roosters however, and 6 minutes later a good passing movement saw Vagana cross in the corner for his second of the night. Williams' failed conversion, his only miss of the night, saw the Roosters in with a faint chance, but unfortunate decisions saw them fall short on several occasions.
Despite Vagana's good game, both he and Roosters forward Danny Nutley may have cases to answer - the latter coming within inches of a spear tackle offence on David Peachey, while Vagana appeared to take Joel Monaghan high earlier in the game.
The Roosters will head to Townsville next Saturday hoping to improve their effort after a disappointing effort, while the Rabbitohs will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Parramatta at home on Sunday afternoon.
Venue: Aussie Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins
Sydney Roosters (6) Tries: Josh Lewis Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (1/1) South Sydney Rabbitohs (18 ) Tries: Joe Williams, Nigel Vagana (2) Goals: Joe Williams (3/4) 0 min: Monday Night Football is back, beginning with the two foundation clubs in 2007 - both of whom are celebrating their 100th year. With the war of words between the clubs in the lead up, this promises to be a bumper clash. Jersey Flegg kicked off between Souths Juniors and the Sydney Roosters at 5:10pm, with the Souths Juniors getting home 26-22. Earlier this weekend the Newtown Jets (feeder for the Sydney Roosters) managed a draw with the St George Illawarra Dragons 32-all.
Both teams are as per program.
Stay tuned for kickoff! Just minutes away!
0 min: And we're underway - Monday night footy is back! Roosters with the first possession.
2 min: End to end stuff from both sides but it's the Bunnies' early kicking game that's given them field position. They force a line drop out from a brilliant Joe Williams kick on tackle four. They now go on the attack.
4 min: No luck from the set for Souths but the reply set from the Roosters is not much better, the fifth tackle kick going out on the full... giving South Sydney another shot at the line. Score remain nil-all.
7 min: The Roosters manage an attack on Souths' line, falling painfully short. The fifth tackle sees Peachey drop the ball cold, meaning another set for the home side.
8 min: More monstering defence sees a scrambling Souths backline prevent a Roosters try. No change to the scoreline.
12 min: Two quick penalties see Souths gain some momentum but some forced balls in the corner prompt a David Peachey error. The Roosters get out of gaol this time.
14 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Sensational try from Joe Williams for South Sydney. The forwards laid the platform and from just metres out the ball was spread to Williams who cut through a soft hole in the Roosters line. Conversion attempt by Joe Williams successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-0
16 min: Post-try, the rain is now bucketing down at Aussie Stadium. Souths looking in a strong position so far, and are dominating possession.
18 min: VIDEO REF - possible try to Vagana for South Sydney. Looks like he's got it down just inside the line...
27 min: Both teams giving it a run for their money over the last few minutes, but it's Souths' defence that is shining at the moment, a few missed opportunities costing the home side.
30 min: The rain beginning to create some butterfingers out in the middle, first a dropped intercept by Roosters winger Kenny-Dowall, then a drop ball just short of the line by Joe Williams, who almost managed a double.
34 min: A few drop balls and a somewhat controversial tackle from Vagana on a Roosters backline player see the Roosters go on the attack but a last tackle option by halfback Josh Lewis to run to the line sees some brilliant Bunnies defence stop a certain try. Souths continue to lead by twelve at Aussie Stadium, just minutes from the break.
37 min: More errors from both sides as things get sloppier in the rain. Roosters currently on the attack after sustaining some pressure from Souths.
40 min: A fast finish to the second half, with more controversy as Nutley up-ends Peachey. The crowd boos, Kidwell petitions the referee, but the pair involved get up smiling, the ref sees no trouble, and play goes on. The halftime siren sounds. Replays suggest Nutley did put Peachey in a dangerous position but managed to find leverage before putting him on the ground.
HALFTIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 Sydney Roosters 0 Both sides have performed well in wet conditions so far today but it is Souths with the upper hand after the first forty. Two good tries and plenty of excellent, sometimes desperate defence has kept the home side scoreless. A few chances bombed by Souths to be honest - who really should be further ahead given their performance. If the Roosters can draw first blood in the next stanza, we're in for a special second half.
41 min: Underway in the second half of tonight's game. Souths with first possession.
46 min: PENALTY GOAL South Sydney Rabbitohs An obstruction penalty against the Roosters sees a two-pointer as the first points of the second half, in favour of the Bunnies. South Sydney Rabbitohs 14-0
50 min: A brilliant break from Souths but no try as the Roosters are forced into another defensive set. Souths could take the game with points here.
54 min: An error forced close to the line and the Roosters get an attacking chance... but the Souths defence is simply too good. Time beginning to work against the Roosters as they are struggling to break the Bunnies' resolve.
59 min: VIDEO REFEREE - NO TRY - South Sydney Rabbitohs Aussie Stadium erupts in boos and heckles as Cusack is denied a try for Souths. The man upstairs has ruled an obstruction on a prior play and denied Cusack the four pointer. Penalty Roosters.
61 min: TRY Sydney Roosters A Merritt error leads to Josh Lewis crossing for the home side to open their account. Souths fans feeling robbed after being denied a try only minutes earlier. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 14-6
65 min: A dubious knock-on call against Anthony Tupou off a massive bomb could cost the Roosters and Souths on the back of a couple of penalties go on the attack.
68 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs The numbers out wide become too much and Vagana completes a double. Souths in the drivers seat now. Conversion attempt by Joe Williams unsuccessful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-6
75 min: The Souths defence does it all it can to repel the Roosters, and it succeeds. The game is surely out of reach now for the Sydney Roosters.
FULLTIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 Sydney Roosters 6 A brilliant defensive effort has surely given Souths a strong victory today. The match was marred by the sloppy conditions brought on by some heavy rain just before kickoff as well as during the game. A good performance all around from Souths and while it's still early days, things certainly seem to be on the up out Redfern way. The Roosters lack of execution was worrying at time but the Bunnies' defence saw to any challenge the Roosters issued. LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Joe Williams 2 Points: Nigel Vagana 1 Point: Anthony Minichiello