Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Last night the Penrith Panthers defeated the South Sydney Rabbitohs 26-22 in what many would consider an upset as Penrith had multiple stars out.
This win has confirmed that the Panthers will win their second minor premiership in three years as they look to win back-to-back Grand Finals in a little over a month.
It was a back-and-forth game that the Bunnies were ahead late but a penalty goal and try from Liam Martin with two minutes to go secured victory for Penrith.
While unlikely, this loss for South Sydney means they could finish the round as low as eighth but could remain in fifth place if the three teams below them all lose over the weekend.
The big story coming out of this top eight clash is unfortunately the poor performance of Rabbitohs winger Jaxson Paulo who made five errors during the game.
Bunnies coach Jason Demetriou spoke about Paulo in his post-match press conference and confirmed that he would be sitting down with the winger to discuss his performance.
“We’ll sit down and have a conversation,” said Demetriou.
“Against the best teams that’s the level that you’ve got to get to.
“As a young bloke you understand every error has an impact on the game.
“I still think we should have defended better, Liam Martin scores a barge-over to win the game — that’s a tackle we’ve got to make, and we don’t make it.”
On many occasions in the past we have seen young players have similar poor performances which in hindsight turned out to be a great lesson with said player often reacting to it positively and improving their game.
There should be no doubt that Paulo is capable of the same.
South Sydney will now be keeping a close eye on the Broncos clash with Storm tonight, the Bulldogs trip to Parramatta tomorrow afternoon and the Roosters game against the Tigers tomorrow night as these games will directly impact the Bunnies’ ladder position and could derail their hopes of finishing in the top four.
It won’t get any easier for the Rabbitohs next week either as they face the second-placed North Queensland Cowboys.