World News –
After conceding the opening try, the Rabbitohs have bounced back and now lead the Warriors 24-6 as both teams head to the sheds for half-time.
Through an individual effort from Campbell Graham who evaded multiple defenders to find the line, the Rabbitohs successfully responded to David Fusitu’a’s opening try.
The effort from Graham appeared to spark the Rabbitohs who immediately looked better after a sluggish start.
The Warriors would find themselves in trouble when Kodi Nikorima was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul after he held on to Rabbitohs winger Dane Gagai in a tackle for too long.
Gagai caught the Warriors napping and raced away down the left side, forcing Nikorima to hang on in the tackle once it was eventually made as New Zealand lacked numbers in defence.
The sin-binning then led to consecutive tries from Adam Reynolds and Braidon Burns who both crossed over within minutes of each other.
Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell was instrumental in the first half.
Latrell’s passing abilities were on full display with NRL legend Steve Roach paying special mention to the 23-year-old’s effort.
The Rabbitohs scored in the final minute of the first half through Alex Johnston, but it wouldn’t have been possible if not for the vision and passing ability of Mitchell who produced a stunning cut out pass which created the overlap for the winger to find the line.
“Latrell has been in everything,” Roach said on Fox League’s commentary.
“Great to watch.”
As usual, Warriors NRL great Stacey Jones has devoted chunks of his week priming Kodi Nikorima to lift his game.
However, assistant coach Jones has also spent time dissecting the methods of Nikorima’s opposite, South Sydney No.6 Cody Walker, knowing the danger posed by the centurion-to-be in Friday’s match at Bankwest Stadium.
It was Walker who shredded the Warriors with four tries when they met early last season.
Jones noted the difference to the Rabbitohs when the 30-year-old five-eighth returned from suspension for last week’s 20-point win over Gold Coast, ending his team’s three-game losing streak.
“He’s very important to them – a very dangerous player and he found some form coming straight back into the team,” Jones said.
Late bloomer Walker will play the 100th game of his NRL career at the age of 30.
He trails the 105 games notched by 26-year-old Nikorima, who Jones hopes is building towards a run of high-level form following sparkling showings in the two Warriors wins in Gosford.
Nikorima’s incisive running complemented three try assists from veteran halfback Blake Green last week against North Queensland, showcasing what the oft-criticised Warriors halves can do at their best.
But while Green is largely self-sufficient, Nikorima regularly soaks up tips and assurances from former halfback Jones, among the greatest Warriors to play the game.
“You’ve got to keep pushing him. The players are telling him how good he can be, so he’s getting it from left, right and centre at the moment and we’ve just got to stay on his case,” Jones said.
“Because from the previous week (loss to Penrith) to what he produced on the weekend, there was a huge difference.”