Klemmer avoids forearm ban after Mitchell and Walker masterclass tears Knights to shreds


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Latrell Mitchell not only invigorated Cody Walker but gave South Sydney a mid-season jolt as they secured their second impressive win in a row with a 40-28 triumph over Newcastle.

Mitchell, in his second game after two months out with a hamstring tear, and Walker, who is back in top form after a sluggish first half of the season, orchestrated the victory after the halfback rookie Lachlan Ilias was knocked out in the first 20 seconds. .

They edged Brisbane and Parramatta, at least momentarily ahead of their weekend fixtures, into fifth place with a 9-7 record while the Knights remain mired in 12th place and are unlikely to see final action with just five wins out of 16 starts.

Tensions boiled over late in the game when Newcastle prop David Klemmer and Bunnies striker Keaon Koloamatangi engaged in an ongoing verbal battle with plenty of pushing and shoving. When Klemmer ironed Daniel Suluka-Fifita and used his forearm against the head, he was kicked out by referee Todd Smith as the final siren sounded.

Klemmer was charged with dangerous contact on Saturday but is not facing a suspension and will have to pay a $1,000 fine with an early guilty plea.

“They told me in the sheds that he [Klemmer] was sent off, and if it was to calm things down because he was involved in something earlier, that’s probably more the case,” coach Adam O’Brien said after the game.

“I’ll take care of it when it arrives on our desk.” He has already apologized to his team.

“’Klem’ has a high attention factor. He took almost 70 minutes, he is frustrated and let his emotions take over.

“He’s frustrated, his emotions are taking over there; but it is the NRL.

“It was the best I’ve been involved in in my time at the club, just in terms of character,” said Jason Demetriou, proud of his team’s victory.

“We had 40 per cent of our salary cap missing tonight and nearly 1,200 games of NRL experience, but nobody blinked during the week.

“I have to give the senior players a massive envelope. I thought tonight’s performance was outstanding.

The only blips were reports for Latrell Mitchell and Tom Burgess, after high tackles in the first half.

However, Demetriou is confident Mitchell will have nothing to worry about, calling the report “ridiculous”.

“It’s a penalty, I understand that, but he made a bit of contact trying to wrap the ball around but that’s not a reportable offence. No way,” he said.

The game started with drama when Ilias escaped a tackle on Knights forward Mitch Barnett following a header clash with much taller teammate Tevita Tatola.

He then failed his HIA and the Rabbitohs didn’t replace him in time, so they forfeited their free trade.

The Rabbitohs, missing Origin trio Cameron Murray, Jai Arrow and Damien Cook, drew first blood in the 10th minute when Cody Walker burrowed in, but the Knights fought back in the 15th minute when Dominic Young scored at the north end of McDonald Jones Stadium just two games after Latrell Mitchell nearly put Kodi Nikorima at the other end.

Newcastle second rower Tyson Frizell turned the tide with a long break against the run of play before Young beat the scrambled Souths defense to dive into the corner.

Fittingly, it was Young who scored the try as his brilliant tackle kept Nikorima out.

The hosts hit the front midway through the first half when a bombshell from Anthony Milford was fended off by Edrick Lee for David Klemmer to pounce for a rare four and a 10-6 lead.

Newcastle, who were also without the services of a trio of representative stars in Kalyn Ponga, Jacob Saifiti and Dane Gagai, extended their advantage to 10 when Bradman Best landed after Lee latched onto a bomb again and is become the supplier of his center.

The Rabbitohs hit forward when journeyman Richie Kennar landed twice in the space of four minutes after Walker set him up first via a pass to first skipper Mitchell and then with a pinpoint kick .

Kennar was included late on the left wing after Alex Johnston was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

They took a 24-16 halftime lead when Walker took a pass from Mat Croker to run 80 yards under the posts.

Souths scored 22 points in a row shortly after half-time when Kennar sprinted over another try laid on a board for him by Walker to make it a hat-trick in his first NRL since Round 6 last year in Brisbane.

And when Tex Hoy failed to score a kick in the end zone, Tatola was in the right place to make it 34-16.

Lee grabbed his own earned four when halfback Adam Clune looped a long pass to the Dolphins-bound winger to close the gap to two converted tries midway through the second stanza.

David Klemmer. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Any hope of a late Knights push was dashed in the 64th minute when Rabbitohs winger Jaxson Paulo rounded Lee and brushed past a very fine tackle from Hoy for a 38-22 cushion.

Many of the 18,621 fans were rethinking any plans to head out early when Barnett burst in after a short pass from returning hooker Jayden Brailey, making his first appearance in Knights colors this year after a torn Achilles in preseason .

Despite some close calls, including Best crossing the line but not putting the ball on the ground, the Knights were unable to make any further inroads and the Rabbitohs retained some crucial competition points as the NRL enters the phase regular final. season after the original period.




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