RTS stars but did refs rob Rabbitohs?
A VINTAGE performance from fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has seen the Warriors shock South Sydney with a 32-20 victory.
New Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold was given a tough initiation into life as an NRL coach as he watched his South Sydney side dominate the opening exchanges before crashing to concede six tries to four.
Seibold said his side needed to improve their first contact in defence.
"Pretty simple from me," Seibold said. "Too many missed tackles. In attack we completed at 68 per cent. You're not going to give yourselves a chances when you miss a lot of tackles.
"We jumped out of the blocks pretty well and missed opportunities early."
Tuivasa-Sheck rekindled the form he displayed at the Roosters by producing his best performance since joining the Warriors in 2016. He laid on two tries, but more importantly saved two more in the opening half including a monster effort to halt a flying Alex Johnston, to end the Warriors nine game losing streak in Perth.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney praised his fullback.
"I thought he came up with some tremendous tackles early in the game," Kearney said. "Constantly put himself in the contest.
"That's what you expect from Roger. He sets himself such a high standard. It's not often he doesn't deliver.
"To get a result I was really pleased for them and the manner in which they did it. There were some good parts to the performance."
A controversial no-try to South Sydney winger Robert Jennings before halftime proved costly. A Cody Walker pass was ruled forward by the sideline official despite replays suggesting the pass was fine.
The Warriors marched up the field and scored in the next set to give them a 20-10 halftime lead.
Seibold said it was a "big turning point."
"We get a chance to tie it up going into the halftime break," Seibold said.
"I didn't see the try I was on the way down to the dressing room. We need to be able to handle that."
Halfback Shaun Johnson was also at his fleet-footed best while back-rowers Tohu Harris and Isaiah Papali'i starred. Hooker Issac Luke also showed the form which saw him regarded as one of the most potent attacking players during his extended stint at the Rabbitohs.
The result will be a welcome relief for Warriors coach Stephen Kearney who started the season under more pressure than any other mentor.
For the Rabbitohs, skipper Greg Inglis was solid - although his touches were limited - in his comeback from a series knee injury, while Damien Cook looked threatening at hooker.
Inglis said aside from cramps late in the game he came through unscathed.
Walker started and ended a movement to score the opening try after just 10 minutes before the Warriors scored twice within two minutes via Papali'i and David Fusitu'a.
The Rabbitohs levelled the scores when winger Richie Kennar crossed in the 25th minute. Despite South Sydney looking in control for much of the opening quarter of the game - and on the back of a seven to one penalty count advantage at that stage - they again handed over the lead when Sam Lisone scored in the 31st minute.
Some Johnson brilliance on the stroke of halftime - where he skipped and raced 20 metres before firing a pass to Fusitua - who scooped up the bouncing ball - to give the Warriors a 10-point lead.
The Warriors scored twice within the opening 15 minutes of the second half with Tuivasa-Sheck throwing the final pass for Ken Maumalo and Solomone Kata's respective tries.
The Rabbitohs took quick advantage of Kata's sin-binning when Kennar scored his second a minute later before Walker scored a consolation try.
NZ WARRIORS 32 (D Fusitu'a 2 S Kata S Lisone K Maumalo I Papalii tries S Johnson 4 goals) bt SOUTH SYDNEY 20 (R Kennar 2 C Walker 2 tries A Reynolds 2 goals) at Optus Stadium