Rugby League

Wighton double helps Rabbitohs open their 2024 account

March 29, 2024 8:32 pm

[Source: NRL]

The Rabbitohs have held off a determined Bulldogs challenge to come away with a much-needed 20-16 victory at Accor Stadium on Friday afternoon.

With star recruit Jack Wighton bagging a double and running for 131 metres, the Rabbitohs made it six wins a row in the traditional Good Friday clash.

On the back of a penalty against Reed Mahoney for late contact on Latrell Mitchell after a clearing kick, it was the Rabbitohs scoring first through Thomas Burgess in the ninth minute. Latrell Mitchell converted for a 6-0 lead.

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Four minutes later the Rabbitohs had a second when Wighton powered through a Jacob Kiraz tackle from close range, finishing off a set that began inside their own red zone with Mitchell putting Alex Johnston away with a great offload in traffic.

A mistake by Matt Burton at dummy half in the 21st minute handed the Rabbitohs another opportunity but a couple of poor passes brought the movement unstuck and the Dogs held on.

Come the 25th minute and the Bulldogs hit back when Viliame Kikau put Josh Addo-Carr into space and Burton supported on the inside to post his first try of the season.

A huge 40-20 kick by Burton seven minutes before the break put the Bulldogs in range and they came up with a pearler of a try through Connor Tracey courtesy of a Blake Taaffe chip kick. Burton converted from touch to put the blue and whites up 12-10.

On the stroke of half-time Addo-Carr launched himself at the corner but was denied by a last-ditch tackle from Isaiah Tass, with Latrell Mitchell coming across in cover and making accidental contact with Addo-Carr’s head.

The Bulldogs winger was motionless for several minutes on the ground and was ruled out of the game at half-time under the concussion protocols.

Five minutes into the second half the Rabbitohs regained the lead when Wighton put Johnston away with a neat flick pass and backed up to take the return pass and cross for his second of the day.

The Bulldogs then had Jacob Preston leave the field for a HIA after he collected the shoulder of Shaquai Mitchell while attempting a front-on tackle on the Rabbitohs forward.

More drama for the Bulldogs in the 51st minute when Kurt Morrin was sin binned for a lifting tackle on Cameron Murray and two minutes later the Rabbitohs went up 18-12 through a penalty goal to Latrell Mitchell.

The Bulldogs were denied a try in the 63rd minute due to obstruction and from there both sides dug deep to deny their opposition before a penalty against the Dogs for touching a dropout before it had travelled 10 metres gave Latrell Mitchell the opportunity to make it 20-12.

A last-minute try to Tracey made it 20-16 and the Bulldogs had 20 seconds to conjure a miracle but Latrell Mitchell defused a Burton bomb and the Bunnies had done enough to keep the wolves from the door for at least a week.