NRL 2020: South Sydney Rabbitohs overcome Wests Tigers in a tense encounter

A heated and firey exchange has overshadowed the South Sydney Rabbitohs' 18-10 win over the Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.

Early in the first half, tensions flared after Tigers playmaker Josh Reynolds accidentally kicked Campbell Graham in the head while contesting for a loose ball. 

The incident sparked an all-in with Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell taking offence to the incident, smacking Reynolds across the jaw with a swinging arm. However, that was missed by officials with Graham lying on the ground. 

It was compared to Tigers centre Joey Leilua's off-the-ball hit on Penrith Panthers Dylan Edwards last week, which led to a four-match ban.

A heated verbal exchange between the pair ensued where Reynolds was heard telling Mitchell, "You think I meant it, d***head? Wake up to yourself, f***wit".

There was no malice in the kick as Graham was diving to gather the loose ball, at the exact same time where Reynolds looked to boot the ball away, however, the Tigers five-eighth found himself on report. 

Mitchell wasn't placed on report but might also be in trouble with the Match Review Committee. Although he was later placed on report for another swinging arm, this time on Tigers forward Luke Garner in the 62nd minute.

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett admits he missed the first swinging arm from Mitchell on Reynolds. 

"Honestly I didn't see that [Mitchell's swinging arm on Reynolds]," says Bennett. 

"I just saw what happened with Campbell Graham on the ground so I was looking at that.

"I didn't take a lot of notice about what happened after that because I thought he was knocked out and I thought it was the first 10 minutes of the game and we're probably going to lose a player to the head bin.

"I thought it [Reynolds' kick] didn't look great anyway, I don't know how bad it is but it didn't look great, so that's where my thoughts were."

Away from the drama, Dane Gagai scored his first NRL hat-trick to help the Bunnies secure victory and move to seventh on the NRL standings. 

Benji Marshall was injected into the contest midway through the second half in his first game in over a month and helped the Tigers in their late resurgence.