Sunday Territorian

Tenacious Bunnies hop to it in season opener


EXPERIENCE and youth combined to get South Darwin Rabbitohs’ 2021-22 Darwin Rugby Union season off to a winning start with a 31-22 win over University Pirates.

It was Pirates who started the better of the two sides with full back Stylianos Vrontos showing his electric pace to score a brace in the opening half.

But ill-discipline came to bite them with yellow cards for both Digby Frewen and Thomas Carnavas.

That played into the hands of the Bunnies who found themselves with a try from young centre Maleli Motonicoco­ka and not long after with a penalty try to level the scores at halftime.

Pirates started the second with confidence taking the penalty from Robbie Butcher to separate the scores.

But Souths unloaded their bench with the experience of Vincent Mehn, Nasoni Rokobiau and Setefano Cakaunival­u all coming on.

It was those big-name players that inspired the rest of the side.

Rokobiau found himself on the end of one of the stranger tries of the match racing 70m on his own only to have the ball knocked out of his grasp in the try zone.

But that was deemed a knock-on gifting Souths an advantage and Rokobiau on his second attempt he did not miss the try. The experience of Mehn showed soon after as he too grabbed a try following some powerful runs from his big men and the Rabbitohs were ahead.

But Pirates struck back through Aidan Hall to narrow the margin to two points and kept plugging away into the dying stages.

However, a cross-field kick played against the side and instead Motonicoco­ka found himself with open space ahead of him to score a try and seal the game.

Captain Jacob Rainger said it was great to kick off the new season off with a win with his mostly new side finding its footing.

“It’s great to get the win. This is a brand new team, we still have a core group but a lot of new faces,” Rainger said.

“It wasn’t there in the first half but it came together in the second half. Our bench that came on brought plenty of experience and that really got us over the line.”

 ?? ?? Robbie Butcher.
Robbie Butcher.

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