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NRL 2021 finals as it happened: Rabbitohs beat Panthers in huge upset; Titans defeated by Roosters in one-point thriller

That’s all from us tonight.

We will be back tomorrow for Sunday’s clash between the Eels and the Knights. The winner will now take on the Panthers next week.

See you then.

It seems the spat between coaches Ivan Cleary and Wayne Bennett is farrrrr from over.

First up, Ivan Cleary called upon the NRL to consider sanctioning coaches that try to have influence over the games.

He argued Bennett’s comments earlier in the week around his issues with the Panther’s block plays had a role in the Rabbitohs win, saying they influenced the referees.

Yikes.

“Our boys were certainly being spoken to on the run about stuff we never get done for,” he said.

“The NRL has got to make a decision on whether they are going to allow coaches to deliberately manipulate referees and influence them. We get fined afterwards but pre-game it’s pretty much open slather.

“I suggest that type of thing has an influence. The game could do itself a favour and come down on a coach who wants to try and deliberately influence a match official before a game.”

Bennett fired back after being told of Cleary’s post-game comments before blaming the Panthers coach for leaking the issue to the media.

“He was the one that’s come out and started mouthing off so if he’s critical, he’s critical of himself,” Bennett said.

“I wasn’t going public with anything until Penrith started to come out and they started the public statements and I just responded to those. I wasn’t going to sit back and not stand up for my team and my players.

But it was good theatre, wasn’t it? Got everyone pumped up a little bit? That’s what it’s all about.“

Bennett said he was also adamant Cleary had been informed about the Rabbitohs coach going to the match officials to get greater clarity around when the Panthers block play tactics were legal after their round 23 clash.

“He worked for them. He worked for the referees before he went back into coaching. I’m going to assume he’s got some mates there still. I’m just telling you the background of it.

“I saw an incident in a game that I didn’t like, and surely it’s my right to ask the referee their interpretation of that is. That’s what I did, that’s process.

“If that’s manipulating the game, you’re kidding yourself.”

South Sydney have done it.

They have beaten the Panthers in the qualifying final, even without Latrell Mitchell.

They will go straight to the preliminary finals to take on the winner of Manly/Roosters.

The Rabbitohs have not been able to beat the Panthers in their last five encounters but have done it tonight in a shock win.

The Panthers will now need to take on the winner of the Eels/Knights.

There’s just two minutes left here and the Panthers may only get one more set left in this game.

What an incredible upset this would be from the Rabbitohs, who would go on to face the loser of Manly/Roosters in the preliminary final if they win this match.

The Rabbitohs have taken two more points after being awarded a penalty kick following a crusher tackle from Panthers co-captain Isaah Yeo.

The kick from Adam Reynolds from 30 metres out was successful to extend the Rabbitohs lead 16-10.

Yeo was put on report for the crusher.

Isaah Yeo has let the Rabbitohs push ahead by six with just 15 minutes to go.

Isaah Yeo has let the Rabbitohs push ahead by six with just 15 minutes to go. Credit:Getty

The ground at Townsville is looking worse for wear as we head towards the end of this game.

Last week we saw divots flying everywhere in the match between Manly and North Queensland last week.

The damage left behind by the clash at Queensland Country Bank Stadium saw the curator of the ground come out and defend the “scuffing” that took place this week, before assuring there would be no safety concerns ahead of today’s double-header.

But it looks as if today’s matches may have been a bit too much for this Townsville ground. The paddock is simply littered with dents.

Hopefully there are no major injuries in this game – otherwise, the NRL may have something to answer for.

You can read more in this article from us.

The Rabbitohs have gone over again in what is a huge moment in the game.

Adam Reynolds made a silky play to get the ball to Blake Taaffe who sent the final pass over to Jaxson Paulo.

Reynolds wasn’t able to add the extras, but the Rabbitohs are now in front 14-10 with 35 minutes to go.

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