RABBITOHS v STORM 6/5/2021
How embarrassing. The mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs crashing to a 50-0 defeat at the hands of last year's premiers, Melbourne Storm. And what's worse, a former Souths junior, Josh Ado-Carr (aka The Fox), scored six tries.
Yes, at least two of his tries should have been disallowed for forward passes, but still The Fox had every reason to be laughing after such a fruitful night skinning Rabbits.
Fortunately, I wasn't at the ground to endure the slaughter, having been warned off by a trio of dire omens: 1. Souths appalling injury toll; 2. Horrific wet weather that made the trek to Homebush less than tempting; and 3. A COVID threat in the inner parts of Sydney that made joining the Rabbitohs' throng (maybe I've overplayed the word) seem a little risky health-wise.
But, be certain, watching such a dismal performance from the Red & Greens in the comfort of your loungeroom was still terribly uncomfortable.
So, what went wrong? I could go on forever which would be boring ... and soul-destroying, so here's just a few suggestions.
Injuries to six key players forced numerous personnel changes and, in retrospect, the coach picked a team that exacerbated the disruption to a squad that had won seven games straight. It was too much to expect rookie halfback Dean Hawkins to partner quixotic veteran Benji Marshall in such an altered line-up against top opposition. A better option would have been to bring Cody Walker back to the halves and use Alex Johnston as fullback.
And, again, it would have been better for the team's defensive structure if Dane Gagai had stayed at left centre, with Cartwright starting at right centre. And, why did coach Bennet drag his starting right centre Steve Marsters off the field after one defensive slip-up? And, shouldn't Benji have made that tackle anyway?
In the end there were just too many holes in our defence. We started OK, and looked our usual polished selves for a brief moment at the start of the game, but the personnel changes and altered team structure meant that when adversity struck, the glue was not there to piece us back together.
And, boy did adversity strike ... mainly in the shape of Souths junior Addo-Carr. The Fox should be proud of his miraculous six-try display, but I doubt he will be smiling as broadly when he joins the battling Bulldogs next year. (There, saying that made me feel better).
I thought fullback Cody Walker still had a good game, which probably tells you how bad the rest of the team were travelling.
The slaughter also pointed out the critical role Campbell Graham's defensive fortitude at right centre plays in our team. We need him back from injury ASAP.
And, in case you didn't know already - Adam Reynolds, out injured with a busted thumb, is our most valuable player, bar none. The thought of us enduring next season without him (and it is likely he will be forced out of our club) is unbearable. Get him a new contract NOW!
Plenty of other things that could be discussed, but at BringBitz.com we like to keep things as positive as possible. So, I will end with two comments - the score is irrelevant when you lose; and you're only as good as your next game!