The Rabbitohs beat the Eels 26-0 on the back of doubles against Alex Johnston and Cody Walker with Latrell Mitchell on fire to keep their top four prospects alive.
Souths dominated with five tries to nil, including a brace against Cody Walker and Alex Johnston and a try against Izaac Thompson to blast the Eels.
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Damien Cook jumped off the dummy to put Walker on first down of the night as Souths took a 6-0 lead.
Izaac Thompson produced a brilliant finish moments after Walker struck in the act of scoring to extend Souths’ lead to 10-0.
Isaiah Tass set up Alex Johnston for his 160th career by trying to get him to eighth on the all-time list.
Mitchell backed up his two first-half line breaks with an assist for Johnston’s second of the night, but blocked the result.
Walker pounced on a Dean Hawkins kick that bounced off Waqa Blake to grab his own brace and seal a momentous win for the Bunnies.
Here are the main takeaways from the game.
LATRELL TEARS EELS APART IN CLINIC
Latrell Mitchell continued his superb run of form since returning from injury to keep Souths’ top four prospects alive with another masterclass at CommBank Stadium.
Mitchell made two line breaks with his first two touches after some brilliant inside passes from Cameron Murray to set the tone for the night and he and Souths never looked back.
“Latrell was tearing them up early,” Dan Ginnane said on Fox League.
“Two dots and two line breaks. The Souths tear them to shreds. Two descents and 60 meters for Latrell early.
Greg Alexander marveled at Mitchell’s ability to be so effective with his touches as he consistently makes an impact every time he receives the ball.
“We’re talking about Latrell’s strike rate,” Alexander said.
“A few keystrokes and a few line breaks. He opens them.
“When you see Latrell looming and hovering around the ruck, you know the ball is coming, but you can’t stop it.”
Cooper Cronk was full of praise for Mitchell’s sizzling performance.
“Latrell was absolutely on fire,” Cronk said.
“He had eight 100-meter runs at halftime.
“It was a really dominating performance from South Sydney.
“They flexed their muscles. They had all the ball and all the position on the pitch.
“Five missed tackles and five line breaks. That was the difference in the first half.
“Basically, Parramatta spent no time attacking Sydney’s southern line.”
Mitchell finished with 186 yards rushing, eight tackle busts, three offloads, three line hops, two line hop assists, one try assist and three conversions.
WALKER INTEGRATES IN THE ABSENCE OF PARTNER HALVES
The Souths may have lost half-back Lachlan Ilias to a training accident during the week, but that did little to hurt their pace as Cody Walker stepped up and Dean Hawkins completed the halves admirably.
Walker produced the first try of the night after charging through a hole on a pass from Damien Cook and it was cruelly denied moments later when he knocked the ball over the line.
Walker was the catalyst for the Rabbitohs’ quick start and his teammates followed to knock the Eels out of the contest.
“It was a quick start for the Rabbitohs and Cody Walker started strong,” Gorden Tallis said.
“There were a few balls inside Cameron Murray to get them going and launching their attack.
“Dummyhalf’s Damien Cook hit Cody Walker.”
Greg Alexander thinks Walker is ahead of most five-eights in the history of the game because of his running game and his ability to work hard on the ball and be a hole runner.
“That’s the great thing about Cody Walker, he’s been one of my favorite players ever since he made his debut at 26 in 2016,” Alexander said.
“As a five-eighth and as a ball player, there aren’t many as good as Cody Walker and I’m talking history.
“His ability to push through space. I think his ability to run a hole separates him from a lot of other five-eights.
Walker finished with 21 yards running, two tackle busts, a line break and a classy double in a superb display.
EELS CLUNKY COLUMN AS SOUTH STARVES THEM OF POSSESSION
They may have gotten the job done against Manly last week, but the Eels’ inconsistent season continued and they really missed Mitchell Moses against Souths.
Moses’ kicking game gives the Eels so much position on the pitch and they were hungry for possession against the Rabbitohs.
Corey Parker believes the Eels lost the contest in the middle by moving away from what works for them and their halves suffered as a result.
“To keep the Eels down, which were way off their game,” Parker said.
“When the Eels play well, they’re powerful and dominant down the middle and they like that physique. There just wasn’t one.
“The departure of Souths put so much pressure on the Eels scoreboard and they just didn’t have the artillery to answer the call.”
Dylan Brown, Reed Mahoney and Clint Gutherson had five errors and two penalties conceded between them in a frustrating night for the Eels spine and their top four prospects are now nearly done.
The Parramatta Eels host the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a blockbuster clash at CommBank Stadium.
Lachlan Ilias is out due to a training accident, with Dean Hawkins coming in at fullback.
Hame Sele returns from a hamstring injury in the front row, with Daniel Suluka-Fifita returning to reserve.
Blake Taaffe comes down from the bench with the arrival of Taane Milne.
For the Eels, Ryan Matterson is looking to pass concussion protocols to take his place at the lock.
Mitchell Moses stays out with a finger injury with Jake Arthur against the start in the No 7 after his star performance against Manly.
Latrell Mitchell will look to continue his scorching form at the back for the Bunnies in a tantalizing clash with Eels skipper Clint Gutherson.
The Eels will do it and the Rabbitohs must both win to keep their top four prospects alive after Melbourne’s resurgence.
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