Penrith Panthers Punish Horrendous South Sydney Rabbitohs Display

Bren Gray.png
Bren Gray
Penrith Panthers Punish Horrendous South Sydney Rabbitohs Display

The Rabbitohs have been widely touted as the worst team in the current NRL season, and their latest lacklustre performance did little to dispel those claims. 

The South Sydney outfit remain at the bottom of the table after they succumbed to a heavy defeat against the visiting Panthers side. No surprises there! The 42-12 loss means the Rabbitohs have only one win to show for their nine NRL matches in the 2024 season. They parted ways with head coach Jason Demetriou recently, but a managerial change could not do anything to stop the slump. 

News Insights

  • Interim coach Ben Hornby makes horror debut as the Rabbitohs slip to another devastating defeat
  • Penrith Panthers have now won in 11 of their last 13 visits to the Accor Stadium
  • The home side started strong but capitulated in the second half 
  • Panthers prop Lindsay Smith finally crossed the line for his maiden NRL try in his 35th cap

The Rabbitohs Fade Away After Promising Start  

The Rabbitohs made a bright start and cruised to a 12-0 lead after 17 minutes on Thursday evening. The home side capitalised on their early advantage when opposition centre Izack Tago was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Jye Gray after just six minutes. 

Only minutes after Tago returned, however, Jai Arrow took his place in the bin. When the Rabbitohs forward was out of the pitch, the Panthers made the numerical advantage count and wiped away the Rabbitohs’ lead with two swift tries. They edged ahead at the break, when Luke Garner latched on to a Jarome Luai short ball and crossed the line for a try, giving them a 18-12 lead halfway through the game.  

Hornby would not have been too upset to see his team trailing at half time. The Rabbitohs were still in the game, and a similar level of resilience in the second half could have brought them a great result. They started the second half strong as well, but lost the momentum just before the hour mark.  

The defending champions scored their fourth of the night when Lindsay Smith scored his first-ever NRL try. This turned out to be the turning event of the match, as the Rabbitohs defence collapsed right afterwards. Up until now, it seemed like an evenly contested clash. After this point, the match became a one-sided affair, as all major betting apps had expected.  

Taylan May extended the lead to 30-12 before Luke Garner scored his second of the night and Tago put the final nail on the Rabbitoh’s coffin with the seventh Panthers try.  

No Cleary, No Problem for Penrith 

The Panthers decided to rest Nathan Cleary for their round nine clash with the Rabbitohs as he continues his recovery from a recent hamstring injury. Not playing the superstar halfback was a big call to make, but in the end, it proved to be a prudent move.  

Brad Schneider deputised for the Panthers number seven and he delivered a stellar show. Schneider scored the equalising try for the visitors when he danced past Cody Walker to make the score 12-all. 

Cleary had returned from injury in the previous round. He played the full 80 minutes against the Cowboys, so many had thought that there was an injury setback when he was dropped for the Rabbitohs game. The Panthers, however, have assured their fans that Cleary’s absence was a precautionary move, and he should be fit to feature in coming matches. 

Ben Hornby Sees Room for Optimism 

The final scoreline doesn’t reflect the fight the Rabbitohs had shown for most of the game, so interim coach Ben Hornby refuses to believe it’s all doom and gloom.  

“I thought we started really well, getting Jai put in the bin hurt us obviously but it was effort all day,” Hornby said in the post-match press conference.  

“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.” 

The Rabbitohs’ fans were hoping to see a response from their side after the club sacked Jason Demetriou. Beating the title chasing Panthers, who are the favourites to go all the way again across many betting sites, was a big ask. But, the Rabbitohs started the match well, before going down in the second half.