Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Last Saturday night the South Sydney Rabbitohs defeated the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 38-12 in a high-stakes elimination final.
While the Rabbitohs were clinical and certainly deserved their victory the Sharks put in a sloppy defensive effort which goes against what we have come to expect from them over this past season.
Throughout the game Cronulla missed an astonishing 45 tackles on top of 15 errors and six penalties conceded.
Other than a Briton Nikora try right after the second half commenced the Sharks never looked a chance of winning.
Cronulla’s head coach Craig Fitzgibbon shared his frustrations with the team’s performance during the post-match press conference.
“Bitterly disappointed with our performance, not good enough this time of year and we got a lesson in fundamentals of footy,” Fitzgibbon said.
“We didn’t respond to anything in the right fashion tonight, we had a couple little squirts of energy but nothing of note.
“I’m disappointed that we finish off the season in that fashion.
“We’ve been shuffling the decks a lot over the last eight weeks, guys in, guys out, different combinations and no consistency at training with guys in and out.”
Overall, 2022 must be considered a success for the Sharks as they returned to the finals after missing out on the last day of last season.
They finished in second place on the ladder when many had them missing the top four at the start of the year.
Unfortunately last night’s performance was a sour note to finish their incredible season on but the Sharks should be considered early premiership contenders for 2023.
South Sydney now moves on to the preliminary final where they will face defending premiers the Penrith Panthers next Saturday in a finals game for the fourth time in three years.
This 2021 Grand Final rematch will take place at Accor Stadium and be a Panthers home game despite the Rabbitohs using the ground as their home stadium during the regular season.
No matter the result South Sydney have certainly gotten lucky in terms of where they have played their finals games, as the Bunnies have managed to remain in Sydney for the entire finals series despite finishing in seventh place on the ladder and not hosting a single game.