Johnston broke South’s record by trying to score as he bounced back in a bungee style.

Alex Johnston has become South Sydney’s all-time leading scorer, having crossed three times to beat the West Tigers 44-18 in South Sydney 12-0.

This was a significant result for the South, who lost to Canberra last weekend and just held their place in the top eight.

Their main problem was error and finish rate, but today they have completed 85% and got their reward, made eight attempts and won 32-0 in the second half.

This is the first time that they have lagged behind at half time and won this year, breaking a big hood that made the Rabitos dog in 2022.

Johnston surpassed Nathan Merritt’s record of 146 with his hat-trick effort, all three of them with the help of Campbell Graham, who claimed late for the Origin selection with a burnstorming 141m, 63m post-contract, four tackle break performances.

The central units of Tom Burgess, Saliva Haveli and Hem Cell were also excellent, especially as Burgess carried the Tigers’ line repeatedly through the middle by bending hard.

The Tigers could see some brilliant moments with the ball in hand, but never gave South enough trouble. The way they dropped in the second half would hurt Michael Maguire the way they did in the middle.

South had all the ball to start the game, but too much pressure for the point: Lachlan Elias threw an optimistic pass that Asu Capoa picked up and returned to the 95-meter line.

When they get the ball, the Tigers unveil one of their favorite moves, running after Jackson Hastings Rock and making extra people, in this case, Brent Naden.

He was pulled down, but after a few games when the kick came, Naden batted close to Maumolo to make it 10-0. Luke Brooks, returning to kicking due to a hamstring injury to Hastings, missed the conversion but was given a chance to score a penalty and did not return it.

For South’s achievement, the barrier did not prevent them from throwing the ball around the backline. They slowly build up pressure and eventually their pet game stops, with Campbell graham granting a catch-pass that allows Alex Johnston to get his first.

Possibilities kept coming. Elias scatter the ball with the line begging and Luke Garner denies Jackson Paolo.

The crucial moment came through a challenge. After the Tigers resisted several sets in their line, they thought they had a relieving penalty for a rack violation, but the Rabbits questioned the decision and were rewarded with the ball.

The pressure this time came through Saliva Haveli, who bulldozed a tired defense to level the score.

Equality lasted only a few moments. The Tigers just didn’t see the ball for 25 minutes in the Southern half, but bounced to the other end of the field and got their spine – for the first time since Round 7, the last time they faced South Sydney – to put together and put Maumolo back in the corner.

The South quickly returned to condition. Jackson Paolo made two great plays – first an intercept, then a ball steal – to gain and maintain a field position, allowing another fluid backline move to send Johnston back to the left.

That left edge hit once more. The Tigers hit sixes again in the fourth tackle after the smart work of Damien Cook.

Johnston went close to a hat-trick, but from the rock, Campbell was able to force himself to give Graham South their first lead of the night.

Suddenly there was wind in their sails from the south. They went 100 meters on six tackles, then lined up on defense and forced Brooks to kick from outside his own 20-meter line. He completely kicked out.

It was no surprise to guess where they went next: from Walker to Graham to Johnston and above the line.

It was a well-worn path on this occasion, and has been for years: Trying to finish a hat-trick makes Johnston the highest effort scorer in South Sydney history.

At this stage it was a one-way vehicle. Elias kicks and Luciano Leilua pushes under his own crossbar, allowing Cody Walker to celebrate an emotional indigenous round effort.

He had a few more moments later: Elias, again, had a hand in it with a drop off to his halfback partner, who ran the perfect line and knocked out several tacklers on the way to the line.

Elias again had the opportunity to deny Laurie – his second attempt saver in the Tigers’ fullback – before Paolo grabbed another barrier and this time capping a great evening for South Sydney took it home.

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