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Underdog Day

Heading into their Round 25 clash of the 2009 season, the South Sydney Rabbitohs were dubbed as heavy underdogs and unlikely to even make a dent in Premiership favourites; the St. George Illawarra Dragons. What followed during the next eighty minutes was something special.

The Rabbitohs had been bundled out of finals contention weeks before, while the Dragons were flying high as competition leaders. After a season filled with injuries, including an ACL to captain Roy Asotasi, while bench hooker Beau Falloon was replaced by another Souths junior in Jason Clark, who made his first-grade debut.

In contrast, the Dragons fielded a full-strength line-up including internationals such as Brett Morris, Matt Cooper, Wendell Sailor, Jeremy Smith and Nathan Fien. They arrived as strong favourites, and the odds were hardly in Souths' favour.

Even the staunchest of Souths supporters would have been praying for a win on that chilly night at ANZ Stadium, but it was a Rabbitohs rout that the Red and Green faithful would witness, highlighting the real fight and young talent this side had.

After holding a miraculous 19-6 lead, the deficit avalanched as the Red and Green piled on a further four tries, finishing off the match 41-6 victors. Five-eighth John Sutton was the maestro, scoring two tries and setting up a handful of others, while halves partner Chris Sandow nailed six conversions and plotted a field goal for a 13-point haul.


The most amazing statistic of the night is that in the 200 plus matches against teams wearing the Red V, this one stands as our biggest winning margin against both St. George Dragons and St. George Illawarra sides. It remains as the most points scored against either club in a single match. With nearly 100 years of history, it's this forgotten classic from 2009 that remains as our biggest victory.

The man who took over the captaincy through Asotasi's absence, Club stalwart Luke Stuart, remembers the match fondly as not only a great victory, but also as one of his first games with the 'c' next to his name.

"It was an enjoyable to play in, particularly at the end when we had heaps of ball and they were constantly defending," said Luke Stuart of the historic match.

"Our attitude was good and our approach to the game was good too."

And just as they will be going into their Round 10 clash against the Dragons nearly ten years later as underdogs, you just know that, on their day, today's squad can replicate that same form. No matter their position on the ladder, we'll be ready to take them on head first.

Match report sourced from Originally posted in 2009.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have dealt the St George Illawarra Dragons a hefty blow in their efforts to secure the minor premiership, winning 41 points to 6 at ANZ Stadium tonight (Saturday) in front of 19,218 Members and supporters.

The Rabbitohs ran in seven tries to one, dominating the Dragons in all facets of play. From attack, to defence, to discipline, to their enthusiasm, the Rabbitohs' players did their Members and supporters proud tonight.

The Rabbitohs opened the scoring in the fifth minute of play when five-eighth John Sutton broke through to score. David Fa'alogo made a break and offloaded to fullback Nathan Merritt. He found Sutton who carried three defenders over the line to score. Chris Sandow converted to give the Rabbitohs an early six-nil lead.

The video referee then ruled against two Dragons' attempts to score, Brett Morris putting a foot into touch after a try-saving tackle from Merritt, and Matt Cooper dropping the ball over the line with Colin Best wrapped around his ankles.

It was that man Best that scored next in the 18th minute, charging on to a short ball from Sutton to score. Sandow's conversion stretched the lead to 12. The Dragons struck back five minutes later, with Jamie Soward scoring the try and kicking the conversion, these being the Dragons only points of the match.

The Rabbitohs crossed again in the 30th minute when Ben Lowe ran a great line close to the line to slice through and score, after the Rabbitohs had capitalised on a Dragons' mistake. Sandow converted to restore the 12-point lead.

In the dying moments of the first half, Sandow kicked a field goal from about 20 metres out to give the Rabbitohs a 13-point break at the half time siren. The Rabbitohs were outmuscling their more fancied opponents, with a highly physical approach to the game rattling the Dragons' cage. Jaiman Lowe was making particular in roads into the Dragons defence and shaking them up with his defence.

A try was not scored until the 57th minute when Rabbitohs winger Jamie Simpson crossed for his ninth try of the season. Simpson sliced through on the left hand side, beating three defenders to score.

Two minutes later Merritt scored when the Rabbitohs carved up the Dragons up the middle of the ruck. Issac Luke scooted from dummy half at the halfway line, offloading to Merritt 40 metres out, backing up like a good fullback should to dart away and dive over under the black dot. Sandow's conversion took the Rabbitohs to a 29-6 lead.

In the 65th minute, Sutton scored his second try for the night when rampaged through the Dragons' defence to score under the posts from ten metres out. Sandow's conversion gave the Rabbitohs a 29-point lead with 15 minutes remaining.

Six minutes later, Eddy Pettybourne charged on to a Chris Sandow short ball to score. A great run from Issac Luke in the lead up to the play set up the try, flinging off numerous defenders as he charged towards the line. Sandow's conversion took the score line past 40 for the Rabbitohs.

To put his final mark on the game, Sandow kicked a 40/20 in the final minute of the game, bringing the 19,000-plus crowd to its feet.

The Rabbitohs registered their biggest victory over the St George Illawarra merged club tonight, a fantastic feat considering the Dragons are the favourites to win the premiership.

Rabbitohs Head Coach Jason Taylor was happy with his side's performance tonight, lamenting the fact that it had not come a week earlier.

"It (the performance) came from attitude," Taylor said.

"We've had that attitude in recent weeks, just not last week.

"We worked hard to get it back, and last week hurt us. We picked it up at training yesterday.

"I'll be honest and say I didn't see a score line like that coming though."

Taylor said it's one of the Club's best wins this year.

"It's up there with them that's for sure," Taylor said.

"The win at Brookvale was good and we've had some others like Brisbane in Brisbane and the wins over the Roosters, but this is definitely up there, if not the best."

Taylor said the Dragons will still be a force to be reckoned with in this year's premiership.

"They were off their game tonight, but that was only going to make the game closer," Taylor explained.

"We were in it from the start. We were aggressive, but that's the game. You've got to start with that aggression and we did tonight.

"We brought the last ten minutes of last week with us tonight and that was what we wanted to do.

"We made it difficult for ourselves this year by putting ourselves in a position where every game became sudden death and we were playing them for a long time."


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