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Rabbitohs On The Rise, Lomax Lights Up & DWZ’s Magic Moment

As we reach halfway of the 2024 NRL season, there is something for almost every team to be encouraged by after the Rabbitohs picked up a much-needed win on the Gold Coast.

The Wests Tigers threatened to start Round 13 off with an upset but the St George-Illawarra Dragons put an end idea to that shortly into the second half. Wests led 14-12 at the break but found themselves 32-14 behind by the 60th minute. The Dragons made it look easy on their way to a 56-14 victory.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs made it look similarly easy in thrashing the Gold Coast Titans 46-12. The big names – namely Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker – stood up for a battling Rabbitohs side to give some life to their 2024 NRL season. The big scores continued into Saturday evening. The New Zealand Warriors, strangely, ran out as underdogs against the North Queensland Cowboys but flew home with two competition points following their 42-12 victory. In contrast to the first two games of the day, the third not only ended as a close one, but an upset. The Brisbane Broncos may have been down on troops, but the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks typically struggle without Nicho Hynes. Still, the Sharks used three tries in the first ten minutes after halftime before holding on to win 22-12 at Suncorp.

While the final 36-28 scoreline suggests the Newcastle Knights kept close to the Melbourne Storm, the result wasn’t in doubt in the second half. Melbourne piled up points and switched off to allow Newcastle to add some respectability to the scoreboard by the end. Later on Sunday, the Penrith rallied back from 12-4 behind after 26 minutes to win 32-22. The result should have been a lot closer but Reuben Garrick forgot to pack his kicking boots, converting only one of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles’ five tries.

A massive crowd greeted the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels to Accor Stadium on Monday afternoon and they were treated to a beauty. Just as it looked like the Eels had turned their season around and would go on to win, the Bulldogs scored two tries in six minutes before holding on for the 22-18 win.

NRL Team of Round 14: South Sydney Rabbitohs

There could be a few teams here; the Dragons picked up a massive win, the Warriors did the same in Townsville, the Sharks caused an upset, and the Bulldogs continue to impress. However, the way in which the Rabbitohs bounced back against the Titans deserves a mention.

Finally, the Bunnies looked like the Top 8 team many expected before Round 1.

Damien Cook, Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton all contributed for points. Quiet to start the season, South Sydney’s best players simultaneously stood up to lead the Rabbitohs to a big win over the Titans.

Keaon Koloamatangi also deserves a mention. He disappointed to start the NRL season but has been superb over the last fortnight. His move to the middle has translated into two tries and 496 running metres.

Souths have only won three of their 12 games. Typically, you need to win 12 games just to be in the conversation to feature in the NRL Finals. That leaves the Rabbitohs needing to win nine of their remaining 12 games. It’s unlikely, but if they can continue to build on this form and beat the Broncos in Round 15, they might have a run in them yet.

Player Spotlight: Zac Lomax

It can only be Zac Lomax here.

Backing up from an impressive State of Origin performance in which he ran for a game-high 224 metres along with a try, Lomax ripped through the Wests Tigers for 32 points barely 48 hours later.

Lomax scored three himself and slotted a perfect 10 from 10 off the tee. It’s the most points in a game by a St George Illawarra player.

Not to be outdone as a fellow Origin representative backing up on a short turnaround, Ben Hunt played a leading role in the Dragons scoring 56 points. The Red V halfback scored a try, registered a line break and handed out four try assists for the night.

Highlight Reel

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has already produced some magic moments throughout the 2024 NRL season, but this one takes the cake.

A Numbers Game

We’ve already mentioned Lomax’s monster numbers. Another monster: 65% v 35% possession in favour of the Dragons.

Keaon Koloamatangi has continued his impressive form. He scored a double and ran for 231 metres in Round 12. In Round 14, he ran for another 266 metres to be one of South Sydney’s best. We typically consider offloads as an attacking stat but while the Warriors and Cowboys combined for 54 points, they managed only six offloads between them. Running metres is consistently a fairly good indicator of how well a team is playing with the ball. The Sharks got what they deserved on Saturday while running for 2,108 metres to the Broncos’ 1,470 metres.

Dane Gagai has fallen out of State of Origin discussions but he looked like Origin Gagai in Round 14. The 33-year-old ran for 246 metres and scored a try to stand out in a beaten Knights side. The Panthers found themselves 12-4 behind at one stage, but when you complete 37 of 40 sets and do so with the power and pace Penrith does, you have a chance at a comeback. Even more so when your fullback, Daine Laurie in place of Dylan Edwards, runs for 344 metres.

The Eels held a late lead but were ultimately made to pay for a flimsy defence. While they did well to keep the Bulldogs from scoring for much of the match, the eight line breaks conceded while making only three of their own proved the difference in the end.

Related

State of Origin: Remembering every Origin match played at the MCG

Pangai Jr. returns, Wests win again & Titans terrorize Warriors

Round 16 Preview

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