Big question benching ’embarrassed’ star

Through Chris De Silva and Damien McCartney

The benching of halfback Lachlan Ilias, just 29 minutes into the game, summed up a getaway from hell for the South Sydney Rabbitohs

After seeing his side concede six tries in the first half hour of the game, Souths coach Jason Demetriou honed his number 7, with Blake Taaffe at fullback and Kodi Nikorim moved to halves.

Despite beating the Dragons in the second half, the devastating first half proved a hole too deep for the Rabbitohs, with St George Illawarra almost 32-12 winners run out at the WIN stadium.

AS IT HAPPENED: Dragons 29-minute attack burns Bunnies

READ MORE: Blood clot sidelines Cleary from another game

READ MORE: Rugby boss warned of ‘hand grenade’ at NZ

When questioned about the decision to bench Ilias in favor of Taaffe, Demetriou’s first statement was that his side “needed some energy” and “had to turn the tide” after the match’s dismal opening.

It was a move that stunned the legendary halfback Johnathan Thurston

“Yeah, I never would have gotten out of it. I would have stayed there until the break and then he could have captivated me,” the Cowboys great said on Nine’s NRL coverage.

“He dropped the ball after kick-off, but to be hooked after 30 minutes, that has to crush his confidence. I think the team really needs to rally around him.

“We’ve got these young halves coming in there and (we) expect that they’ll be able to get the team through the park and have try assists, linebreak assistants and all these stats, but until you get into 50-plus games begins and begins to master how to do it, he has a lot of work to do.

“It’s a big call for the coach to grab him after 30 minutes, but the team should definitely rally around him now because he will be crushed.”

A dejected-looking Ilias was comforted by veteran team-mate Damien Cook in the barns after the game, with legendary halfback Andrew Johns also surprised by the phone call from Demetriou.

“I couldn’t imagine what his confidence would be (after) getting hooked tonight. I think it’s really, really surprising that they would do that with a young halfback,” Johns told Nine’s. Thursday evening Knock Off

“It was really good to see Cooky around him because he would be ashamed of it. I think he has a huge future, Lachlan Ilias, and I was surprised that he became addicted. I really feel for him. “

Ilias’ nightmare began just seconds into the game when he dropped the opening kick-off, immediately putting the Rabbitohs defense under tremendous pressure, with ex-Sharks skipper Paul Gallen suggesting that this could play a part in the call-up from Ilias. Demetriou.

Nightmare starts for Rabbitohs

“He dropped the ball on the first kick of the game,” he said.

“Maybe the coach knew before the game and just felt he wasn’t quite there mentally, so he just pulled it to him.

“They were totally enthusiastic in all areas, especially in the middle. It’s very, very difficult for a half to play on the back of an attacker who doesn’t go forward. They had very little ball.

“It’s hard for him to get addicted. It’s been a hard year for him everywhere. He’s replacing a legend from the club and they haven’t gone as well as last year, so he’s under a lot of pressure anyway.” †

After the game, Demetriou explained his call and said he would sit down with the 22-year-old to discuss the decision.

“I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I’m sure he’s disappointed,” the Souths coach said.

“I can’t say anything at this point that will make any difference, but we’ll sit down and go through it.

“We’re 14 games into it… we sit down and go through our preparation to find out how we got into that first half.

“But it’s not about him (Ilias). It was about getting a reaction from the team. That first half wasn’t up to Lachlan Ilias. It’s part of your learning process. He’s not the first young guy to have a had a bad day at the office.

NRL Highlights: Dragons v Rabbitohs – Round 15

“He was not alone. He has resilience, he has a good temperament. He will undoubtedly learn from it.”

The stats after half an hour were dismal for the Bunnies – the Dragons controlled 70 percent of the Steeden and completed 14 of 16 sets.

The Redfern boys, meanwhile, had completed just five of their first eight sets and failed to touch the ball between the 12th and 22nd minute. They conceded three attempts in that time.

But after that half hour it was like a different game. The South had 60 percent of the ball and 76 percent of the area. They ran 280 yards more and made 48 tackles less. The Dragons also missed 15 tackles from five of the Bunnies.

For a daily dose of the best of the latest news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

#Big #question #benching #embarrassed #star

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *