Trial 1: South Sydney 18 defeated Wigan 8
First hit out for the year done and dusted. As predicted the Rabbitohs showed glimpses of brilliance and stages where things just didn’t work. It is the first trial after all so it doesn’t define the season but still keep September in your calendar as tentative.
The Outsider’s five key areas
Attack – 3.5/5
The first half and second half were like chalk and cheese.
Hymel Hunt was a mad man possessed getting early ball and taking the line on. He has kicked on well from last year. I would be surprised if he isn’t in the three-quarters for Round 1.
Damien Cook played out of his skin. He was all over Wigan in attack. Cook’s biggest downfall, and what has held him back over the years, is that he tries too hard. Yes, he is too enthusiastic. This results in pushing a pass that wasn’t needed or kicking when the half or five-eight was in a better position to do so. If Damien Cook can curb this enthusiasm he will go from strength to strength.
Adam Doueihi, was thrown in the deep end tonight. Starting five-eight and handed the kicking duties. All this after his debut year in the National Youth Competiton, a few matches for Fake Souths and representing Lebanon in the World Cup. Early nerves had him shanking his first two conversion attempts but once he had the ball in attack he was dangerous.
if he backs up this performance in the Charity Shield then don’t be surprised to see him on the Bench in Round 1. Adam has the potential to be a future NRL Five-eight but five-eights of his size are often deemed too big and end up playing in the Second Row.
Defence – 3.5/5
I was taught that if you’re going to run out of the line then you better make it stick. Someone has forgotten to tell Campbell Graham that. This was a common-occurrence last season not just by him but by most of our outside backs. I guess you can’t fault a player for doing this if he has been coached to do so. Anyway I think Souths are wasting Campbell on the Wing as he is a Centre through and through. He is still young so he may find himself playing for Fake Souths to start the season, this all depends on where Inglis, Gagai and Johnston play.
Enough about the backs. Souths defence was solid. They contained Wigan well at times and the four repeats sets in the middle of the second half all but put Wigan out of the contest. This kind of pressure is what Souths have been lacking over the past few seasons. If Souths can make building pressure their thing then look out.
Completions – 3.5/5
Souths completed at 77% tonight, 24 from 31, for a first trial that’s a pass mark and a big improvement on last year. A few pushed passes and unforced errors didn’t help the cause but it is their first hit out.
Having high completions can make or break your season. Souths need to be completing at a minimum of 80% next week. During the season, I won’t be satisfied if we are not pushing 85% and up.
High completions come down to positive attitudes, building pressure in defence and eliminating fatigue. These three things lead to getting an advantage of your opponent in the contest and mentally.
Kicking game – 3/5
It’s hard to judge the kicking game tonight when your two regular kickers are in the stands watching. I was impressed with Connor Tracey’s short kicking game and Adam Doueihi’s longer kicks. Very good for two rookies. Well, Tracey hasn’t played since 2015 so that was a great effort. They are still nowhere near Adam Reynolds’ performance in the 2012 Return to Redfern trial when he jagged two 40-20s!
Discipline – 3.5/5
We lost the penalty count 5-4. We copped at 2 to 3 penalties in the opening 20 which all could have been avoided. Other than that it was a disciplined performance with no biff.
Where to from here?
I issued a challenge to the Burgess twins and they can hold their heads up high. What about Tom Burgess and his Michael Jordan style slam dunk of a try. I’m sure I’ve seen a few of these bombed by the Burgess family over the years.
Damien Cook had his best game since he’s been at Souths. He now has to back this up next week.
Dean Britt played well and is a great pick up by us.
Hymel Hunt straight fire.
Jason Clark played big minutes. He’s putting in hard at training and this is showing on the field. The Coach Potatoes hate Clark but he’s giving it his all.
Only scoring 6 points in the second half.
There were plenty of players on the field with their careers on the line who should have taken the opportunity with both hands but didn’t.
Mighty Souths presents V is for Vendetta
Souths are playing in four big games next Saturday. Make sure that you visit our Match Centre for all the venue details, team lineups, late mail and progress scores.