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South Sydney Rabbitohs consign St George Illawarra Dragons to sixth straight loss

Hitting it up: Rabbitohs forward Chris Grevsmuhl. Heritage round: A general view of action during the round 19 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Nanjing Night Net

As it happened: Dragons v Rabbitohs 

The Rabbitohs have overpowered a determined St George Illawarra scoring two late tries to secure out a 24-8 win in their Heritage Round match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

It wasn’t a classic like the one they came to celebrate. Fifty years ago, 78,065 people crammed into a sunbathed SCG to see St George beat South Sydney 12-8 in the season decider. There was no chance of the crowd being matched either – 18,217 fans braved the cold and damp – but there was some synergy when Dragons fullback Josh Dugan’s 69th minute try left the Rabbitohs holding onto a 12-8 lead.

With Benji Marshall back in the side and the Dragons playing with plenty of intent, there seemed the potential for an upset. But the deal was sealed when Souths halfback Adam Reynolds regained his own grubber kick, which cannoned back off the post, and scored under the posts, and Luke Keary got across the line in the dying minutes.

It had been 8-4 and one try apiece after a tight first half. But an Alex Johnston try nearing the hour mark gave an eight-point buffer to the Rabbitohs from where they launched their late surge to extend the Dragons’ winless streak to six matches.

The match was delicately poised at the break after former Rabbitoh Justin Hunt scored a try for the Dragons with 90 seconds remaining.

It wasn’t the first time Hunt had crossed the line. In the fifth minute he slid past Greg Inglis, back from Origin duty, but the ball came loose as he reached the line. It was given a try on the field but overruled on video evidence.

Against the run of play three minutes later a dummy half run by Dylan Walker proved too much for the defence of Peter Mata’utia and Marshall, and Reynolds converted from the sideline to make it 6-0.

On 16 minutes Souths should have had their second – and probably a goanna celebration – when John Sutton made a break and offloaded to an unmarked Inglis. However, the star fullback took his eyes off the ball and spilled it cold with 35 metres of clear space and a try line ahead of him. Inglis was as stunned at his show of humanity as anyone at the ground.

The Dragons got their kicking game going later in the half but poor discipline left them on the wrong end of five straight penalties. Souths showed their opponents’ defence respect (Mitch Rein had made 31 tackles by half-time and went on to register a remarkable 52 tackles) when they took a penalty goal to make it 8-0, before Hunt got on the end of a brilliant Marshall over-the-top pass to score in the corner.

The second half began as 20 minutes of attrition before the Dragons broke. A short drop out from Marshall, aimed at trying to get the ball back and give the defence a breather after Dugan was tackled in-goal, backfired when Johnston wound up on the end of a neat backline move to score.

The try was unconverted but the eight-point gap looked pretty valuable after a rain shower and the minutes ticking down. Souths lost Cameron McInnes to an ankle injury midway through the half and not long later Dugan injected into the game and planted the ball down out wide to make it 12-8. However, Souths’ power game proved too much and late tries to Reynolds and Luke Keary ensured the points.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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