A virtuoso performance from Eels halfback Mitch Moses has helped his side snap a three-game losing streak with a 26-14 win over the under-strength Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.
Already missing a host of players through injury, Souths were further hit by the Origin selection of four players but remained committed with rookies Connor Tracey and Billy Brittain impressing.
But after three straight defeats, including arguably their worst of the year in a dire loss at home to last-placed Penrith in round 11, the Eels bounced back impressively after coach Brad Arthur dropped four players.
Moses was the dominant force, setting up three tries and kicking superbly after some poor early short kicks and running more than 160 metres.
Match: Eels v Rabbitohs
Round 12 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Bench forward David Gower was the best in the pack, bending the line with every carry with a line break and two offloads.
Debutant Tracey was close to Souths' best with a mammoth 13 tackle busts and almost 200 metres at five-eighth.
Most of the first half was played in the Rabbitohs' end but poor execution from the Eels – particularly on end-of-set attacking kicks – eventually saw Souths take a 2-0 lead from a gift penalty in front midway through the half.
The Eels levelled up just inside the half hour mark when debutant hooker Billy Brittain compounded an error with an offside penalty.
Jennings creates space for Sivo
The Eels came alive straight after that though, surging downfield in the set after points before Clint Gutherson touched down on Moses' first pinpoint attacking kick of the night.
Four minutes later, Moses scythed clean through the line and offloaded for Blake Ferguson to score, and in five minutes a 2-all score had blown out to 14-2 in favour of the home side.
A line break from Gower set the Eels on the attack again early in the second half and after some enterprising side-to-side attack a Michael Jennings flick pass put Maika Sivo over in the corner.
Souths clawed one back midway through the half when Thomas Burgess got low and drove his way over from close range but the Eels pulled away again when Josh Hoffman capitalised on a right-side move with a brilliant angled run to the line.
Needing three tries in the final 15 minutes, the Bunnies eventually got one with seven minutes remaining when Junior Tatola crashed over but they spilled the ball in the set after points and another Moses penalty goal helped wind down the clock and seal the 26-14 result.
Moses breaks through for Ferguson to score