Premier Rugby: Souths move into top four following Easts’ upset

By Liam Cook & Kev Nagle

Souths sit inside the top four after a stirring win over the competition’s leader, Easts.

Dominance at the coalface helped the Magpies set up a healthy lead towards the tail end of match, which they narrowly maintained.

Coach Garrick Morgan said his team put a major emphasis on Saturday’s clash as a must-win.

“We had to win it, we had a goal for that and happy the boys responded,” Morgan told Rugby News.

“They were under pressure and fought back hard.”

The forward pack battle went a long way to deciding the end result, according to Morgan.

“I think our boys really overpowered the Easts’ pack, especially an important 10-minute patch with our defence were we knew Easts weren’t going to get through.”

A young prop showed his wares against Easts’ seasoned pack.

“Trevor King, playing tight head prop at only 18, was one of the big highlights for me from last game because I’ve had a lot to do with Trevor.”

“He seems to find ways to evolve very quickly and he did that in an 80-minute performance against a very good forward pack.”

Despite the impressive outing, Morgan was adamant his men still have levels of progression within them.

While allowing two late tries gifted two bonus points to Easts, much to Souths’ displeasure, the overall takeaway from the performance was the cohesion of the ever-improving group.

“It’s due to our leadership group in Kohan Herbert and guys like that who’ve really pulled this group together.”

“After the game I said to one of my coaches, ‘there’s so much we can still evolve to with the team’ and as coaches we can get them to another level were hopefully they’re winning games easily.”

Evolution is occurring thanks to a host of young talent now thriving at Chipsy Wood.

The second-grade side is undefeated, while the youthful exuberance of the first-grade team is driving Souths north, and fast.

“The guys that play as under twenties are really good individuals like Harry Mclaughlin-Phillips, John Bryant and Kohan Herbert, who wins a game on his own with his intensity as a complete footballer.

Morgan doesn’t have to look to far to temper expectations in spite of their impressive start to the year.

The premier grade competition has perhaps never been more even, leaving Souths fully cognisant of the week-by-week challenges that await.

“I watch the Stan minis and watched all the games last night,” he said.

“The competition is really tight and I thought Sunnybank were very unlucky against UQ, and we’ve been through two of those against GPS and Wests.

“I think the competition is really healthy, the crowds are loving the high points being scored.”

On the rise and the winner’s list, Souths are destined to play a major role as the season progresses.

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