South Sydney have consolidated their second position on the ladder, with a ruthless 50-10 victory over the Newcastle Knights in front of 11,570 fans at Barlow Park, Cairns.
For a competition that spouts the competitive nature of all it's participants, it was mostly one way traffic in Cairns today. South Sydney put their foot on the Knights throat in the 14th minute and didn't let up for the entire contest including a perfect 21 of 21 completion rate in the first half in which they amassed 28 points.
Despite missing Sam Burgess and Ben Te'o through injury and suspension respectively, the forwards marched on for the Rabbitohs even earning a position on the scoresheet. Tom Burgess and Chris McQueen with simple efforts from close range late in the half, that typified the game-plan, roll on, stick to your plans and scoring points.
The Rabbitohs boost one of the more thrilling and explosive back-lines in the NRL with the two lesser lights taking center stage in the first half. Lote Tuiqiri was energized by the Cairns air, turned back the clock, taking kick returns at speed and showing his experience, sliding in for a try in the 22nd minute.
Besides Tuiqiri and captain Greg Inglis, who got himself on the score-sheet just after the break, to make his captaincy debut a touch more memorable, it was the youngsters show at Barlow Park. Walker, Johnston and Auva'a will be three names to etch into the notebook for future representative honours.
Johnston has created a reputation as a finisher in only a dozen NRL games. The winger scored two doubles in his previous two outings before adding a hat-trick this afternoon, reminding the Knights the reparations for any side, that can't complete their sets against the Rabbitohs. His first two tries came from simple Knights handling errors including a long range effort before a scrum play, straight from their Redfern base, completed the trifecta.
Dylan Waker who ended the day in the halves after the early exit of Adam Reynolds, added another highlight to his burgeoning reel in the NRL over the last few years. He was a constant nuisance for a bewildered Knights outfit plus was involved in a try of the season candidate from a superb McQueen through ball.
Last but not least, Kirisome Auva'a opened the scoring in the opening quarter where the centre displayed some fleet-footed skills of his own before combining with partner Dylan Walker to latch onto his brace and a comprehensive win for the South Sydney side.
For Newcastle, who are eliminated from finals contention, officially now, had a bright patch when the Rabbitohs took a power nap just after the resumption. Jake Mamo with an effort that is becoming typical for wingers in the corner and a burrowing effort from Adam Clydsdale gave the Knights something from their trip to Northern Queensland.