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Mitchell, Walker lead Rabbitohs to big win over Warriors

Latrell Mitchell produced another superb game from fullback in the Rabbitohs' big 40-12 win over the Warriors, with injuries, errors and bad luck bringing Steve Kearney's men unstuck.

The turning point came at 6-all in the first half with the Warriors bombing two quick tries, the second of which was intercepted, leading to Kodi Nikorima being sin-binned and Souths piling on two tries to break the game open.

The Warriors lost Lachlan Burr at the start of the game and the returning David Fusitu'a at half-time, each to failed HIAs, while Eli Katoa spent time off with an ankle injury.

Souths also have concerns over emerging forward Tom Amone, who left the field in the second half in considerable distress with a potentially serious knee injury.

Mitchell continues to find his feet at fullback, adding another two try assists to his season tally, though he was involved in a contentious moment when a swinging arm caught Fusitu'a high as he attempted to score just before half-time in an incident that was missed by the on-field officials but could attract the attention of the match review committee given Fusitu'a missed the rest of the game.

"It's all there to see," frustrated Warriors coach Steve Kearney said of the incident.

"I didn't know you could hit the head of a player, the back of the head too. I don't want to sound like I'm blaming the officiating, that was one minor issue of a number of issues tonight.

Mitchell throws a superb pass to Johnston

"What disappointed me tonight was the softness of the tries, the 43 missed tackles … we created enough opportunities for ourselves I thought, we got over the line three or four times, lost the ball over the line, one was batted away.

"We created enough opportunities for ourselves, we just didn’t have any resilience to keep them out."

The Warriors looked on their game early and crossed first via Fusitu'a, fresh from quarantine isolation, as he latched on to a brilliant floating cut-out ball from Blake Green in the sixth minute.

A powerful effort from Campbell Graham put Souths up 6-4 in the 10th minute and his centre partner Braidon Burns almost had one in the 14th from a stunning Cam Murray bat-back past the dead-ball line but couldn't ground the chance cleanly.

It was the Warriors' turn to bomb chances next with Tohu Harris passing too late after getting into space near the line but the next proved far more costly.

With a simple two-on-one overlap on offer, Peta Hiku held the pass too long and allowed Dane Gagai to latch onto an intercept and streak 70 metres before a valiant Roger Tuivasa-Sheck chase brought him down.

Warriors forward Eliesa Katoa.
Warriors forward Eliesa Katoa. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

However, Nikorima's late flop saw the five-eighth sin-binned for a professional foul with the Warriors conceding twice while down a man.

Adam Reynolds split the line from the restart to make it 12-6 then Burns crossed from a clever short grubber from Cody Walker to increase the lead to 12.

Nikorima's return was followed almost instantly by another sin bin to a five-eighth as Cody Walker paid the penalty for repeat infringements by the Rabbitohs inside the 20m zone.

Fusitu'a lost it trying to score in the next set and it was left to Mitchell to ice a dominant half with a bullet cut-out ball to send Alex Johnston on a free run to the line right on half-time.

Walker sliced over for a simple try in his 100th NRL game thanks to a nice ball from Damien Cook shortly after the break while the Warriors bombed yet another try as Hiku lost it over the line under pressure from Mitchell and Burns.

Green throws the lob ball to Fusitu'a

Cook burrowed over from dummy half as the wheels well and truly fell off for the Warriors.

They bombed their fourth try of the game when Karl Lawton fumbled trying to ground a clever Nikorima grubber before Johnston bagged his double in the 70th from a brilliant Walker chip kick.

Agnatius Paasi belatedly earned his side's second in the final minutes as he slid over but it drew little celebration in the 40-12 defeat.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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