NRL news 2023 | Paul Vautin’s premiership prediction, Storm v Rabbitohs highlights
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have well and truly made their mark this season in the NRL, and premiership-winner Paul Vautin has one big prediction for the side.
After dismantling Melbourne Storm with a 28-12 victory at Suncorp Stadium, the Rabbitohs are now on a five-match winning streak.
With wins against the Dolphins, Panthers, Broncos and Storm a part of that streak, Souths have managed to knock off four top eight sides.
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Queensland great Vautin, believes with those credentials, it’s hard to forget them in the title race.
“I think they’re entitled now to be premiership favourites, the way they’ve played the last five weeks,” he said on Nine’s coverage.
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“You saw what they did to the competition leaders last week, Brisbane Broncos, they smashed them. At this stage there’s no weaknesses in the South Sydney team.”
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Finishing eighth last year, Souths were heavily criticised throughout the season for choosing not to match the Brisbane Broncos three-year offer in the pursuit of former halfback Adam Reynolds.
His replacement, Lachlan Illias, showed signs of what he’s capable of throughout 2022 but has come on strong this season.
Vautin believes the 22-year-old holds the key for Souths, along with the side’s star studded spine.
“As long as the half (Lachlan Ilias) keeps controlling them and Cody Walker, Cameron Murray, Latrell (Mitchell) keep turning up they’re going to be hard to beat, that’s for sure,” he said.
In Alex Johnston’s 200th match, the winger was a standout for his side, scoring two tries.
Cody Walker went over first for the Rabbitohs after some Latrell Mitchell brilliance before Jacob Host scored as well to make it 12-0 inside 20 minutes.
Reimis Smith gave the Storm momentum heading into the second half with a try in the 35th minute.
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It was all Souths from there though, with Johnston scoring his two tries while his centre partner Isaiah Tass scored as well in the 66th minute.
Storm rookie Bronson Garlick scored a consolation try in the 75th minute to make it 28-12 at full-time.
The Rabbitohs will now play two sides outside the top eight with the Tigers next week and Eels following on from that.
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