Warriors finals hopes take hit in NRL loss

Cameron Murray scores for Souths in their NRL thrashing of the Warriors.
Cameron Murray scores for Souths in their NRL thrashing of the Warriors.

The slim NRL finals hopes of the Warriors have come crashing down after a whopping 60-22 loss to South Sydney at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

The Warriors are now three wins out of the top eight with six rounds to play as questions were raised about their flimsy middle defence by the rampant Rabbitohs.

Dejected coach Nathan Brown said the finals look beyond them at this point after Souths ran in six first-half tries, with another five to finish the job.

"I would have thought that's starting to look beyond us now if we're being truthful," he said of finals chances.

"I'd like to think it's not, but you get to the stage where there's only so many games left, and we haven't had a win for a while."

It was their seventh-straight loss as the third-placed Rabbitohs racked up their seventh-straight win.

And it was just the fourth time in Souths' history they had scored 60 points or more.

Souths poured through the middle easily but saved some savagery for the edges too as Jaydn Su'a, Tom Burgess and Josh Mansour all scored doubles in the 38-point thrashing.

Reece Walsh once again found himself a target on the line as Souths ran traffic at the teenaged fullback, asking him to work harder than his size can cope with.

The Warriors scored first through Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in the fifth minute but Souths soon clicked into gear, running 100 metres on each set to completely dominate.

Souths ran in six tries to lead 34-6 with two minutes to go in the first half before the Warriors pounced with tries to Marcelo Montoya and Kodi Nikorima.

They went into the sheds down 34-16 but things got worse in the second half - the Warriors missing 36 tackles, making 10 errors with just 37 per cent of the ball.

Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Jaxson Paulo and Keaon Koloamatangi also crossed for the Rabbitohs.

A late try to Walsh off a set play with Chad Townsend narrowed the gap, but the Warriors were well beaten.

Souths coach Wayne Bennett was less than impressed by what he says were soft tries leaked.

"It's not the actual numbers that are a concern, it's the way we can give up soft tries, that's a concern," he said.

There were fears in the second half for Cody Walker who went down clutching his left knee, but he stayed on the field with heavy strapping.

However, a compound fractured finger for Addin Fonua-Blake will cause great concern for the Warriors as they fight for their season.

The next six weeks will be crucial for the injury-hit side who are desperate to make the finals for the first time in three years.

In their favour, they face just one more top-eight side for the rest of the season.

They take on Wests Tigers on Friday, followed by Cronulla, Canterbury, Brisbane, Canberra and Gold Coast.

Australian Associated Press