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Billy Slater impressed by South Sydney fullback Blake Taaffe’s finals debut

Legendary fullback Billy Slater has heaped praise on South Sydney’s Blake Taaffe for the job he did in place of the suspended Latrell Mitchell in his finals debut.

Playing in his first finals match, Taaffe performed admirably in the Rabbitohs’ No.1 jersey, setting up a try in his side’s shock 16-10 win over the Penrith Panthers.

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Slater, who made the position his own during a stellar career with the Storm, credited the 22-year-old for the way he regained his composure after an early spill.

“It was actually a bit of a shaky start for young Blake,” Slater recalled on 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio. “He dropped his first bomb, he knew they were coming, but he didn’t drop one after that.”

“There was a moment in the second half where Nathan Cleary put up a kick, it was right underneath the posts and Stephen Crichton flying down and it was a huge contest.

“He spun around in the air, but the aggression he went up into the ball with was good to see. He set up a try and what a game it was from him.”

Slater also extended the praise to Bennett’s entire squad and said the win over Penrith puts Souths on the “easier side of the draw”.

“The whole Bunnies team, we’ve all been saying they can’t win without Latrell, well they proved us all wrong,” he said.

“They’ve got the week off as well now and I would say they’ve got the easier side of the draw so they could easily find themselves in a grand final in three weeks’ time.”

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