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South Sydney profited from a glut of first half possession to leave the One New Zealand Warriors with just a little too much ground to make up in Saturday’s fifth-round New South Wales Cup contest at Accor Stadium.

After Ben Farr had dramatically opened the scoring for the Warriors inside the first minute, the Rabbitohs turned the match on its head with four tries in the space of 15 minutes to leap to a 22-6 lead.

For 17 minutes and nine sets the Warriors didn’t even touch the ball and it would tell as the Rabbitohs held off a gritty comeback from the visitors to win 26-20.

That the One New Zealand Warriors had the chance to win the match in the end seemed inconceivable given the numbers which showed the Rabbitohs dominating possession 61 per cent to 39 percent. That was reflected in the Warriors making almost 100 more tackles than their opponents.

Yet they found a way back into the contest, initially through a try to highly promising centre Sio Kali in the 33rd minute to leave the side 10-22 adrift at halftime.

Just a minute into the second half the margin was down to 14-22 with a try to right winger Edward Kosi and eight minutes later it was 20-22 when centre Moala Graham-Taufa scored and Farr converted.

Momentum was with the One New Zealand Warriors. They didn’t want for opportunities to take the lead but ultimately a 64th minute try to South Sydney halfback Lachlan Illias sealed the deal.

The match ended controversially when Warriors hooker Freddy Lussick was sent off in the final minute after attempting to charge down a kick from a kick from Ilias. The incident sparked a melee which also saw Graham-Taufa sin binned.

The six-point loss leaves the Warriors with two wins and three losses from the first five rounds. They face the Sea Eagles – also with two-three record – at Go Media Stadium next Saturday.

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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