Fulltime score: Round 18 STH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 24 v CRONULLA SHARKS 14
Match summary: The South Sydney Rabbitohs have delivered the upset of the round in defeating the Cronulla Sharks 24-14 at Aussie Stadium tonight.
The Sharks opened the scoring in the 14th minute following a try to winger David Simmons. But the Rabbitohs struck back when full back Luke MacDougall broke through nine minutes later.
Paul Mellor put the Sharks back in front at the half hour mark with an unconverted try. But big South Sydney forward Manase Manuokafoa crashed through just before half time. Winger Brad Watts slotted the conversion and at half time, the Rabbitohs held a narrow 12-10 lead.
Cronulla came out firing in the second half and were rewarded with a second try to Mellor in the 46th minute to put them back in front. The home side however were not to be denied with skipper Ashley Harrison lifting to set up Mark Minichiello who crashed over. After 53 minutes, the Rabbitohs held an 18-14 lead.
What followed was a period of of attacking football as the Sharks tried to crack the South Sydney line. But the Rabbitohs held firm and then wrapped up the match in the 71st minute with a sensational try through Minichiello, the star forward kicking ahead, regathering, and then taking the final pass to score under the posts.
The result sees the Sharks in danger of losing their top four spot while perennial battlers, the Rabbitohs continue in their own endeavours to kick clear of the wooden spoon.
Scorers STH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 24 Tries: Minichiello 2, L MacDougall, Manuokafoa Goals: Watts 4/4 CRONULLA SHARKS 14 Tries: Mellor 2, Simmons Goals: Covell 1/3
Aussie Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Half time: Rabbitohs 12-10
Live commentary: 0 min: Kick off!
10 min: NEWS - Sharks gettng the early field position and possession. Souths hanging on.
13 min: NO TRY - Rabbitohs denied. Skipper Ashley Harrison reaches out and battled through to get the ball down. But the video ref sees it differently.
14 min: TRY - Sharks. David Simmons scores in good position after David Peachey makes a 50m run up the middle of the park and then puts it to the boot for Simmons who gets a perfect bounce. Conversion Luke Covell. Sharks 6-0
20 min: NO TRY - Sharks denied. Video ref makes it a referee's call and he rules that Simmons put a foot into touch before getting the ball down.
23 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Luke MacDougall scores after Souths get scrum from 20m out. MacDougall stands up a few Sharks players with Adam Dykes and Peachey being amongst the worst offenders. Conversion in front from Brad Watts. 6-all
30 min: TRY - Sharks. Paul Mellor scores 8m in from touch. Follows a good play from Dykes and an overlap developed. Conversion Covell is unsuccessful. Sharks 10-6
37 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Forward Manase Manuokafoa scores under posts, crashing over after hitting the line following a simple play from 10m out. Conversion Watts. Rabbitohs 12-10
Half time: Rabbitohs 12-10 Possession looks dead even and the scoreline reflects that with only one goal being the difference. Both full backs, Peachey and MacDougall, leading the way in yardage. Phil Bailey and Danny Nutley the pick of the pack for the Sharks while Peter Cusack and Shane Walker are working hard for Souths.
Second half underway...
42 min: NO TRY - Sharks denied. Michael Sullivan is ruled by the video ref to have lost the ball over line after trying to charge over from dummy half.
46 min: TRY - Sharks. Mellor scores following repeat sets and sustained pressure from the Sharks which included a bust up the middle from Sullivan. Souths making a few errors. Covell misses a conversion which should have been within his range, 15m in from touch. Sharks 14-12
49 min: NEWS - Sharks forward Jason Stevens is place on report for a lifting tackle on Cusack.
53 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Mark Minichiello scores next to the posts follwing a top class offload from Harrison up the middle of the park, Minichiello hitting the ball at pace. Conversion Watts. Rabbitohs 18-14
62-65 min: NEWS - Souths seem to be gaining the ascendancy but then the Sharks are well on the attack following an intercept from Nigel Vagana who offloads to Simmons who runs some 70 or 80 metres upfield. Sharks then get repeat sets before Brett Kimmorley knocks on... and Souths are off the hook!
69 min: NEWS - A huge bust from Peachey sees a 70m run before he kicks ahead for Simmons. Harrison is on hand to save the day but is forced over the goal line, a second tackle perhaps but its a line drop out. A 100 metre movement in all. Souths get the ball back in the next set.
71 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Mark Minichiello scores under the posts. Minichiello grubbers ahead, regathers, and makes a break up the middle before finding a flying Beau Champion in support. Champion then passes back inside to Minichiello who scores what looks like the match winner. Watt converts. Rabbitohs 24-14
75 min: NEWS - Sharks denied a try when the final pass to Vagana is ruled to have gone forward.
Full time: Rabbitohs 24-14 A boilover with the lowly-placed Souths side upsetting the Sharks' top four aspirations.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Minichiello (Rabbitohs) 2 - A Harrison (Rabbitohs) 1 - D Peachey (Sharks) -----------------------------------------