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Panthers overcome slow start to run down Rabbitohs

The Panthers have made it three wins on the trot with a 42-12 victory over an injury-riddled Rabbitohs side at Accor Stadium.

Losing his starting halfback and fullback in the first half and two forwards to the sin bin, it was a tough night for interim Rabbitohs coach Ben Hornby in his first game in charge.

The Rabbitohs showed some early positive signs to lead 12-0 after 17 minutes but from there they conceded seven unanswered tries to ensure another week in the spotlight.

It wasn't the start the Panthers were hoping for with centre Izack Tago sin binned six minutes in for a hip drop tackle on Jye Gray and the Rabbitohs opened the scoring in the next set through Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson.

The Rabbitohs capitalised on the advantage again four minutes later when Cody Walker bent a crafty kick inside for Dean Hawkins to pounce on between the uprights and the Bunnies had a 12-0 lead.

Dean Hawkins Try

Just seconds after Tago returned, Rabbitohs forward Jai Arrow traded spots in the sheds after being sent to the bin after repeated infringements by the Bunnies.

The Panthers were quick to give the 12-man Rabbitohs a taste of their own medicine with Sunia Turuva darting over on the right edge before Brad Schneider cruised over untouched four minutes later to level the scores.

Eight minutes before the break Penrith had a third with a Jarome Luai short ball opening the door for Luke Garner to extend the lead 18-12 at the break. 

Luke Garner 1st Try

The Rabbitohs continued to hang tough in the second half denying the Panthers several opportunities early into the second term but the Premiers kicked on in the 59th minute with Lindsay Smith benefiting off a Brad Schneider kick. 

The Rabbitohs' defence capitulated late in the match and a quick tap from Dylan Edwards put the Panthers on the front foot and Taylan May took the ball downfield to extend the lead 30-12.

Heads down and hands on hips, South Sydney's defence broke down in the final ten minutes and Garner made it a double thanks to a crafty Turuva flick pass before Tago laid the final try of the match.

Match Snapshot

  • Panthers centre Izack Tago was put on report and sin binned for a hip drop tackle in the sixth minute.
  • Rabbitohs prop Jai Arrow was put on report and sin binned for repeated offences in the 18th minute.
  • It was a tough night out for South Sydney veteran Damian Cook who found himself filling in at fullback in his 200th NRL match.
  • Dylan Edwards had another day out in the No. 1 jersey with 200 run metres, two line beaks and a try assist before he was rested in the 73rd minute.

Hornby prepares for Panthers with some Bennett advice

  • The Panthers had ten line breaks compared to the Rabbitohs' one.
  • Rabbitohs forward Jacob Host was sent to the sin bin and placed on report for taking out Brad Schneider during a kick in the 69th minute.
  • The Rabbitohs had 35 missed tackles compared to the Rabbitohs 26.
  • The Rabbitohs have won only one of their past seven games against the Panthers.
  • Panthers prop Lindsay Smith scored his first try in the NRL after 35t top-flight games.
  • The Panthers have won 11 of their past 13 games at Accor Stadium.

Play of the Game 

Dylan Edwards quick 20-metre tap off a dead ball summed up the match with the energetic, effort player exposing South Sydney defenders when he raced upfield before finding Taylan May in support to score.

Taylan May Try

What They Said 

"I thought we started really well, getting Jai put in the bin hurt us obviously but it was effort all day. I don't think we deserve that scoreline but at the end of the day it is what it is, so we've just got to move forward. We were excited for the game, going up against the premiers, we get a chance to make a statement and I thought we did that." - Rabbitohs interim coach Ben Hornby. 

Rabbitohs: Round 9

"We had some challenges for this game, obviously a fair bit of chat coming out of Souths and any five-day turnaround is a hard game but coming from Townsville...we value our preparation so much so this week was compromising in that sense. You could tell there was a real lack of atmosphere out there and it just had banana skin written all over it tonight. Obviously the start wasn't great but in the end I thought it was very professional and the boys got the job done. I thought we stuck at it and grinded our way through that game." - Panthers coach Ivan Cleary

Panthers: Round 9

NRL Press Conference: Rabbitohs v Panthers - Round 9, 2024

What's Next 

The Panthers host the Bulldogs at BlueBet Stadium on Friday while the Rabbitohs meet the Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff 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.