Well, that’s that then. The Warriors 2019 season is officially over. With one game remaining it is impossible for them to do the impossible and make the finals.
- 14 – The Warriors are currently sitting in 14th place on the ladder, a position they have not finished in since 2012.
It wasn’t all bad, but ultimately ill-discipline and a clinical Souths side were the final nail in the coffin in what has largely been a season to forget.
- 15,295 – Despite the state of their season, 15,295 still turned out – the third-biggest home crowd of the season at Mt Smart Stadium.
It was never going to be an easy game, and the Rabbitohs showed they meant business as they set the tempo in the opening exchanges. They eventually opened the scoring in the 14th minute, as NSW Origin star Cameron Murray spun, bounced and scrambled his way over under the posts from 15 metres out.
- 9 – 21-year-old representative forward Cameron Murray scored his ninth try of the season.
Before long they were in again thanks to some quick hands down the left side from Campbell Graham sending the prolific Alex Johnston over in the corner in his return from injury for a fairly simple try. Ex-snail-paced winger Daryl Halligan noted in the commentary, “even I could have scored that”.
- 6 – This was Johnston’s sixth try in six games against the Warriors.
With the Warriors looking on the ropes just out from halftime it took a piece of magic from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck with nothing on to draw in two defenders to send young Adam Pompey over.
- 1 – Adam Pompey scored his first NRL try for the Warriors in his fourth career game.
And two minutes later the Warriors shook the Rabbitohs to the core as Kodi Nikorima ran the short side and scythed through a gap before placing a deft kick through for Ken Maumalo that sat up perfectly for him to slam down in the corner.
- 17 – Maumalo scored his 17th try for the season, bringing him level with Latrell Mitchell (Roosters) as the leading tryscorer in the NRL in 2019.
- 10 – That also took him to 10 tries in his last 11 NRL games in 2019.
As the halftime hooter sounded, it was seemingly game on as the Warriors had somehow clawed their way back into the contest – 14-10 halftime to the Rabbitohs.
- 1 – The Warriors have only been ahead at halftime against the Rabbitohs once since 2014.
Back-to-back converted penalties from Adam Reynolds helped the Rabbitohs extend the lead before Cody Walker sliced through and sent Murray over for his second try and extended the Rabbitohs’ lead to 20 points with 22 minutes to play.
- 10 – Murray’s 10th try of the season saw him become the first Rabbitohs forward since 2014 to score 10 tries in a season.
- 10 – He is also the leading tryscoring forward in the NRL in 2019, the next-highest being David Fifita with seven.
Dane Gagai sealed the result in the 70th minute. Inexplicably two Warriors defenders just let go of Graham on his own 40-metre line and he took full advantage, sprinting 40 metres down field before being tackled. A simple Rabbitohs shift towards the opposite wing saw Gagai go over untouched through a tired Warriors defence.
- 9 – Gagai’s ninth try of the season helped him extend his most prolific try-scoring season in his NRL career thus far.
And to sum up the Warriors home season in one play, Reynolds just popped over a left footed field goal from 35 metres out right on the siren. Final score, 31-14 to the Rabbitohs.
- 25 – With his 19th career field goal, Adam Reynolds moved into 25th equal on the all time most field goals in NRL history.
For the Rabbitohs it is a final-round clash against their archrivals the Roosters, before embarking on their finals journey. For the Warriors it is an unenviable trip to Canberra to face an incredibly strong Raiders outfit.
- 36 – The Rabbitohs completed 36 of their 39 sets of six.
- 5 – This is the fifth occasion this season that the Warriors have failed to score a point in the second half.
- 20 – This is the fourth occasion in the last five games that the Warriors have lost by 20 or more points.
The Warriors showed in parts that there is a football side in there, somewhere. How we get to see the best of that side remains the big question as the inconsistencies seem to outweigh the positives more often than not.
- 0 – Not one Warriors forward ran for more than 100 metres as six of the Rabbitohs easily crossed the 100-metre mark.
- 500 – The Rabbitohs ran for 500 metres more in total than the Warriors.
- 7 – Despite running for 132 metres in the first half, Warriors and NRL top metre-eater in 2019 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck only managed to run for seven metres in the second half.
- 48 – The Warriors backed up their 51 missed tackles last week with another 48 this week.
In the after-match press conference Stephen Kearney admitted that Issac Luke has probably played his last game in Warriors colours, whilst Wayne Bennett tipped that Kodi Nikorima will have a big season in 2020.
Either way, the Warriors have to start preparing like the 2020 season starts today. Cruelly, rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita suffered a suspected broken arm which unfairly ends his season, but he is one of the few that can hold their heads high in what has been a season to forget for a number of reasons.