Burgess the star as Souths edge Tigers amid golden point drama
Tom Burgess emerged as the hero for South Sydney in one of the most dramatic NRL finishes in recent memory as the Rabbitohs stormed back to beat the Wests Tigers 18-14 in an unforgettable golden point thriller.
Adam Reynolds nailed a two-point field goal to help send the match into extra time but Souths barn-stormed their way up the field in the first set. The Tigers chased the players set for the field goal only for Burgess to find himself in open space as he made a beeline for the try line.
Rabbitohs players celebrate victory after a Tom Burgess try.Credit:Getty
He slammed it down but as the Rabbitohs were celebrating, Luke Brooks had the foresight to pick it up and run 100m to score at the other end. A try was awarded and the Tigers thought they had stolen one of the upsets of the season.
But the video review broke orange and black hearts, with replays showing Burgess got downward pressure on the ball. It meant Souths had gotten out of jail after trailing 14-6 midway through the second half.
“They tell me to run straight, that’s what I did. I wasn’t passing it when I got to the fullback,” Burgess told Fox Sports.
Late drama aside, the match wasn’t without controversy. Latrell Mitchell, Zane Musgrove and Luke Garner were all placed on report for various infractions, with Mitchell also likely to come under scrutiny for a flailing boot in a Garner tackle soon after he made a brilliant run up the sideline from his own in-goal.
Tom Burgess makes a beeline for the tryline.Credit:Getty
That would prove to be a huge moment, as was the sin-binning of Tommy Talau towards the end of regulation time, ensuring Souths had a one-man advantage as they charged up the field in golden point.
Reynolds was instrumental again as he belted through the field goal to tie it up at 14-all, making it even more difficult to see how the cardinal and myrtle can let him walk at the end of the season as they thrash out contract issues.
The Tigers showed up with boundless energy and pressed Souths for the best part of the opening 20 minutes, yet it was the Rabbitohs who scored first when Cameron Murray skipped over after 24 minutes.
Dane Laurie crossed eight minutes before the break, with Mitchell put on report for a shot on David Nofoaluma in the lead-up, and the scores were level at 6-6 at the end of 40 minutes.
The Tigers didn’t take long to keep the momentum surging when they returned. Garner strolled over soon after half-time to give his side a 12-6 lead. That lead extended to 14-6 on the back of a penalty in front of the posts after Tevita Tatola impeded Moses Mbye in a kick-chase.
Souths had to find something with 20 to go and it was Mitchell who sparked the comeback. He produced a sparkling piece of footwork to set them alight from his in-goal, dancing along the sideline in a 50-metre run. Garner wasn’t impressed as Mitchell lashed out with his boot in the tackle but it went without punishment. Dane Gagai crossed soon after to put the Rabbitohs back within two.
Reynolds proved his worth as he sent a two-point field goal sailing over the crossbar to level the scores heading into the final five minutes. Reynolds kicked the first two-point field goal of the NRL era against Brisbane but this one carried far more weight given the context of the game.
The Tigers were falling apart at the seams. Talau was sin-binned for a professional foul with three minutes left to give Reynolds a chance to put Souths ahead by two as he lined up the penalty.
This time the strike wasn’t true, Reynolds dragging it left, but unsung hero Burgess delivered when the game was on the line.
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