Congratulations Nathan Merritt , try number 145 , a new club record for South Sydney, 2nd most capped player in the clubs history — Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) April 11, 2014
What about the Rabbits. Absolute mudlarks. GI should run in the Doncaster. — Phil Lutton (@phillutton78) April 11, 2014
Rabbitohs improve their record to 3-3 and move back into the top eight with a grinding 18-2 win.
SOUTH SYDNEY 18 (K Auva’a N Merritt K Turner tries A Reynolds 3 goals) bt PENRITH 2 (J Soward goal) at Sportingbet Stadium. Referees: Ashley Klein, Adam Gee.
Great achievement by Nathan Merritt to become greatest try-scorer in the history of the NRL's oldest club. Legend. — Brad Walter (@BradWalterSMH) April 11, 2014
71 min: Rabbitohs put the result beyond doubt with Kyle Turner backing up to score after Josh Mansour had spilled a Reynolds bomb. Reynolds converts. RABBITOHS 18-2
67 min: Well, wouldn't you know it, I had barely finished typing when rookie winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak spills the ball with try line wide open. It's just not the Panthers' night!
65 min: The Great Wall of Redfern just refuses to be breached tonight!
63 min: Not the great Ray Warren's finest moment as a commentator, confusing James "Chicko" Segeyaro and Kevin Kingston. Even the best make mistakes!
62 min: Great kick by Soward and chase by his teammates to force a Rabbitohs drop-out. Panthers desperately need a try here with less than a quarter of the match remaining.
55 min: Another try to Souths, and a pretty special one, too. Merritt finally becomes the greatest tryscorer in Rabbitohs' history (145), overtaking Benny Wearing. Reynolds raises the flags. RABBITOHS 12-2
Milestone: Nathan Merritt breaks Benny Wearing 81-year-old try-scoring record. Photo: Getty Images
54 min: I don't think I've ever seen a bloke who can play the ball as quickly as Greg Inglis. Freak!
Souths too big like the look of korasoui — Paul Langmack (@PaulLangmack) April 11, 2014
45 min: Rabbitohs work the play down their favoured left corridor for Auva'a to score on debut, justifying an earlier decision to take a tap instead of a penalty goal. Reynolds's kick is astray. RABBITOHS 6-2
41 min: And we're under way in the second half, with the home side kicking off. Unconfirmed reports have the crowd figure at 11,674 ... all of 'em hardy souls indeed!
Two all at halftime! Go @PenrithPanthers #nrl #Panthers — Sonia Kruger (@SoniaKruger) April 11, 2014
The mighty Rabbits flogging Penrith 2-2 at halftime. All over. — Phil Lutton (@phillutton78) April 11, 2014
After a scrappy first half, teams are locked at 2-apiece.
Panthers centre Jamal Idris throws his massive frame at Souths' line. Photo: Getty Images
39 min: Opportunity for Souths to post the first try of the match on the stroke of half-time. Such opportunities have been few and far between for them in the first 40 minutes but once again they are unable to control the ball.
32 min: Panthers level the scores through a Jamie Soward penalty goal after Adam Reynolds' drop-out had gone out on the full. 2-all. Minutes earlier, Reynolds had been placed on report for a chicken-wing tackle.
Best wet footballer ever Baa Baa Lamb would carve up tonight — Paul Langmack (@PaulLangmack) April 11, 2014
How boring and one dimensional panthers attack — Paul Langmack (@PaulLangmack) April 11, 2014
18 min: Despite having three consecutive sets attacking the Rabbitohs' line, the Panthers are unable to crack the visitors' try line. Great defence by the Bunnies. Not that the Panthers asked too many questions of them.
9 min: Jamie Soward on report for high contact to Nathan Merritt's head. Perhaps Soward was distracted by Merritt's 'interesting' hairdo!
Tipped Penrith but this rain will favour Souths. Should be an arm-wrestle #NRLPenSou — Michael Carayannis (@MCarayannis) April 11, 2014
7 min: Rabbitohs take an early lead thanks to an Adam Reynolds penalty goal. RABBITOHS 2-0
4 min: Early chance for Penrith amounts to nothing as Brent Kite spills the slippery pill.
1 min: Rabbitohs kick off. And it's raining cats and dogs! The Burgess boys will feel like they're back in Bradford.
Unfortunately rain is sweeping the ground as the players run onto the field. We're unlikely to see too much expansive play this evening.
Good evening and welcome to our coverage as Friday night footy goes to the foot of the Blue Mountains for the first time this season.
In late team changes, centre Kirisome Auva'a, 22, will make his NRL debut tonight for Souths at the expense of Joel Reddy. Veteran prop Brent Kite returns to the Panthers' line-up, having been sidelined since round two. Kite's return forces Sam McKendry back to the bench and Nigel Plum out of the squad altogether. Lewis Brown will also start the match instead of Sika Manu, who is on the bench.
Earlier, PENRITH 26 (B Attwood 2 B Cartwright 2 J Jay tries C Harawira 2 B Cartwright goals) bt SOUTH SYDNEY 10 (S Young T Saumamao tries Irae Simone goal) in the under-20s.
Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith, Friday 7.40pm (AEST)
Last meeting: Round 3 2013 - Souths 44 bt Panthers 32 at Sportingbet Stadium
Head-to-head: Panthers 32 Souths 41 drawn 1
Referees: Ashley Klein, Adam Gee.
TV: Live, Channel 9 (delay Brisbane)
Ladbrokes: Panthers $2.20, Rabbitohs $1.67
Betfair: Panthers $2.36, Rabbitohs $1.72
Michael Chammas writes: The Rabbitohs are back. Last week's win against the Dragons should kickstart their season, however they come up against a fast improving Panthers line up capable of springing an upset in their own backyard. If the Panthers can play from in front, they may just be able to hold on to the lead and continue this season's tradition of Friday night upsets.
Tip: Panthers by 2
AAP writes: A rare Friday night game at Penrith and a true test of where the Panthers are at. Despite an early season slump the Rabbitohs remain an NRL powerhouse and they showed that against the Dragons last weekend. But Penrith are on the rise, sitting fourth after five rounds. John Sutton’s return to five-eighth has helped Souths find their groove and Sam Burgess is far more devastating when roaming on the fringes. Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace are combining well in the Panthers halves. Young winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak could trouble a slowish Souths backline, after a double on debut last week.
Key: Penrith have to at least contain the big Souths pack up front if they are to come away with the two points. The Dragons couldn’t last week and got spanked.
PANTHERS: Matt Moylan, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, Josh Mansour, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace (capt), Brent Kite, Kevin Kingston (capt), Tim Grant, Lewis Brown, Elijah Taylor, Adam Docker. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Jeremy Latimore, Sika Manu, Sam McKendry.
RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Walker, Kirisome Auva'a, Bryson Goodwin, John Sutton (capt), Adam Reynolds, Dave Tyrrell, Apisai Koroisau, George Burgess, Kyle Turner, Ben Te'o, Sam Burgess. Interchange: Cameron McInnes, Chris McQueen, Jason Clark, Luke Burgess.