South Sydney belt battered Tigers 32-6

Joe Barton, NZ Newswire July 29, 2012, 6:57 pm

South Sydney are not a one-man team - or even a two-man team - judging by Sunday's clinical 32-6 NRL thumping of Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium.

Missing from the red and green line-up were suspended duo Issac Luke and Greg Inglis, long thought the key elements to any South Sydney victory, but their absence was barely felt at all.

Instead it was the Tigers, missing seven themselves to injury including fullback Tim Moltzen and centre Chris Lawrence, who looked off the pace, playing too much side-to-side football and struggling to create chances in attack.

The victory ensures South Sydney will play NRL finals for the first time since 2007, but unlike five years ago this Rabbitohs outfit won't limp into September in eighth spot.

In fact they'll be arguably the most in-form team in the competition, such was their ruthless disposal of the pre-season favourites.

Souths set up the win with a nearly flawless first half, completing 17 of 18 sets to take a 20-0 lead into the break on the back of a double to hooker Nathan Peats, filling in more than capably for Luke.

Inglis' replacement at the back, try-scoring machine Nathan Merritt, chimed in after 33 minutes, backing up a John Sutton line-break to score his 12th try of the season.

Not to be outdone, Souths' halves showed off in the second half, delighting the 29,863-strong crowd.

Rookie halfback Adam Reynolds ran circles around debutant Tigers winger Marika Koroibete to set up Dylan Farrell, while Sutton continued his hot form in the lead-up to Jason Clark's second-half four-pointer.

With Curtis Sironen ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury, Benji Marshall reverted to his five-eighth role while captain Robbie Farah played halfback.

The combination failed to generate many positive results in attack, although the pair did combine 13 minutes from fulltime when Marshall grounded a Farah grubber kick to score a consolation try.

After starting the weekend in eighth place, the Tigers slip to 10th following the loss.

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