The Rabbitohs have thrashed the Eels 26-0 on the back of doubles to Alex Johnston and Cody Walker with Latrell Mitchell on fire to keep their top four hopes alive.
Souths dominated with five tries to nil, including a doubles to Cody Walker and Alex Johnston and a try to Izaac Thompson to blow the Eels away.
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Damien Cook jumped out of dummyhalf to put Walker over for the first try of the night as Souths took an early 6-0 lead.
Izaac Thompson produced a brilliant finish moments after Walker knocked on in the act of scoring to extend Souths’ lead to 10-0.
Isaiah Tass set up Alex Johnston for his 160th career try to take him to outright eighth on the all-time list.
Mitchell backed up his two linebreaks in the first half with a try assist for Johnston’s second of the night to all but lock up the result.
Walker pounced on a Dean Hawkins kick that bounced off Waqa Blake to grab a double of his own and seal a memorable win for the Bunnies.
Here are the key takeaways from the match.
LATRELL TEARS EELS APART IN CLINIC
Latrell Mitchell continued his stunning run of form since returning from injury to keep Souths’ top four hopes alive with another masterclass at CommBank Stadium.
Mitchell made two linebreaks 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 apart early,” Dan Ginnane said on Fox League.
“Two runs and two linebreaks. Souths are tearing them to shreds. Two runs and 60 metres for Latrell early.”
Greg Alexander marvelled at Mitchell’s ability to be so efficient with his touches as he constantly has an impact every time he gets the ball.
“We talk about Latrell’s strike rate,” Alexander said.
“A couple of touches and a couple of linebreaks. He opens them up.
“When you see Latrell looming and hovering around the ruck you know the ball is coming there, 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 runs for 100 metres at halftime.
“It was a really dominant performance from South Sydney.
“They flexed their muscles. They had all the ball and all the field position.
“Five missed tackles and five linebreaks. That was the difference in the first half.
“Basically Parramatta spent zero time attacking the South Sydney line.”
Mitchell finished with 186 run metres, eight tackle busts, three offloads, three linebreaks, two linebreak assists, a try assist and three conversions.
WALKER STEPS UP IN ABSENCE OF HALVES PARTNER
Souths may have lost their halfback Lachlan Ilias to a training mishap during the week, but it hardly hurt their rhythm as Cody Walker stepped up and Dean Hawkins filled in admirably in the halves.
Walker produced the first try of the night after charging through a hole off a Damien Cook pass and he was cruelly denied a second moments later when he spilt the ball over the line.
Walker was the catalyst for the Rabbitohs’ fast start and his teammates followed to blow the Eels out of the contest.
“It was a fast start from the Rabbitohs and Cody Walker started strongly,” Gorden Tallis said.
“There was a few inside balls from Cameron Murray to get them going and get their attack started.
“Damien Cook from dummyhalf hit Cody Walker.”
Greg Alexander believes Walker is ahead of most five-eighths in the history of the game because of his running game and ability to work hard off the ball and be a hole runner.
“That’s what is good about Cody Walker he is one of my favourite players since he debuted as a 26-year-old back in 2016,” Alexander said.
“As a five-eighth and as a ball player there is not many as good as Cody Walker and I’m taking about history.
“His ability to push into space. His ability to run a hole I think separates him form a lot of other five-eighths.”
Walker finished with 21 run metres, two tackle busts, a linebreak, and a classy double in a superb display.
EELS’ SPINE CLUNKY AS SOUTHS STARVE THEM OF POSSESSION
They may have got 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 field position and they were starved of possession against the Rabbitohs.
Corey Parker believes the Eels lost the contest in the middle by going away from what works for them and their halves suffered as a result.
“To keep the Eels to nil, who were way off their game,” Parker said.
“When the Eels play well they are powerful and dominant through the middle and they love that physicality. It quite simply wasn’t there.
“The start from Souths put so much scoreboard pressure on the Eels and they quite simply 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 hopes are now all but over.
The Parramatta Eels host the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a blockbuster clash at CommBank Stadium.
Lachlan Ilias is out due to a training mishap, with Dean Hawkins coming in at halfback.
Hame Sele returns from a hamstring injury in the front row, with Daniel Suluka-Fifita dropping to the reserves.
Blake Taaffe drops off the bench with Taane Milne coming in.
For the Eels Ryan Matterson is looking to pass concussion protocols to take his place at lock.
Mitchell Moses remains sidelined with a finger injury with Jake Arthur against starting in the No.7 after his starring display against Manly.
Latrell Mitchell will be looking to continue his red hot form at the back for the Bunnies in a mouth-watering clash Eels skipper Clint Gutherson.
The Eels will and the Rabbitohs both need to win to keep their top four hopes alive after Melbourne’s resurgence.
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