South Sydney broke a 7042-day losing drought at Parramatta – and the Eels' finals chances – with a clinical 32-12 win last night at Pirtek Stadium.
In the process, the Rabbitohs extended their winning streak against the Eels to seven games and kept their minor premiership hopes alive with a come-from-behind win at one of their more unhappy hunting grounds.
The last time the red and green left O’Connell Street with the two points was in round 5, 1995 when a Ken Shine-coached Rabbitohs orchestrated a 40-18 win with a team that included former Eels David Penna and Greg Drake.
Last night Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis ensured the drought would be broken in style with the big plays at the big times to get the bunnies back in the winning circle.
Early on it was the unlikely duo of a 198-game veteran who was playing NSW Cup a fortnight ago and a second game rookie with a rugby background who laid the platform for the Eels.
Fuifui Moimoi and Tepai Moeroa were outstanding for the blue and gold with plenty of big hits in attack and defence.
Moeroa opened the scoring when he charged onto a pass from Corey Norman for his first try in the top grade.
Souths began to gain the ascendency on the back of a near perfect completion rate in the opening half and opened their account in the 27th minute when Lote Tuqiri finished off a slick backline move.
One of the biggest plays in the game came just before halftime when the rocks or diamonds Chris Sandow produced his league leading 4th 40/20 and then promptly supplied an intercept pass to Dylan Walker.
The former Souths halfback was then was placed on report for shoulder charge when Walker was eventually chased down on the floor.
From the penalty, Burgess finished off an identical move to their first try to take their first lead of the game. A lead they would never give up.
When big Ben Smith wound back the clock to break the Souths line early in the second half, the Eels should have hit back but winger Vai Toutai dropped the ball over the line.
Inglis, who along with Jarryd Hayne forgo their trademark No.1 jerseys as a tribute to injured Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon, then added salt to the wound when he supplied the last pass to Alex Johnston to start the points scoring in the second half.
From then on the often maligned pair of John Sutton-Adam Reynolds guided Souths to an important win on the road.
Back-up half Luke Keary, who was not used by coach Michael Maguire until the 65th minute, delivered the decisive blow with a kick that was marked by Kyle Turner to extend the lead beyond a converted try
It was fitting Sam Burgess put the icing on the cake with his second try to cap of a man of the match display.
The Eels fourth loss in a row could see them drop as low as 13th on the ladder after the weekend’s games with back-to-back away games against the Titans and Sharks in the next fortnight.
Meanwhile the Rabbitohs will enjoy a 10-day break before their charge towards the top four continues against the Gold Coast Titans next Monday.
The match kicked off “Rise for Alex” round where hundreds of members of the blue and gold army sported blue and red wristbands raising money for the Alex McKinnon fund.
For the Eels, Hayne, the sole survivor from the last Parramatta team to defeat Souths in 2007, tried valiantly to break the recent hoodoo against Souths with 200 running metres.