The South Sydney Rabbitohs have slayed the Dragons by 29-10 at ANZ Stadium tonight (Monday) in the Rabbitohs’ seventh win of the season – their second win over the Dragons in 2014 to place the red and greens fourth on the NRL Ladder.
The match saw the successful return of Issac Luke at hooker, with the Kiwi international making his presence felt with his opportunism from dummy-half.
Both sides traded blows in the opening 10 minutes with neither able to convert their opportunities to points. Neither side was taking chances though – both kicking for the side-lines to control the pace of the game.
But a final tackle kick from Benji Marshall that went out on the full placed the Rabbitohs within striking distance of the line for the best opportunity in the game yet, but the Dragons defence held strong.
With 18 minutes gone, George Burgess looked to break the dead-lock by carrying two defenders toward the try-line before reaching out. But the video referee deemed that Burgess lost the ball short of the line.
In his first game back from a lengthy injury, Issac Luke’s enthusiasm from dummy-half sparked an opportunity by getting a roll on before the Kiwi international threw the ball out the back-line for Joel Reddy to eventually draw first blood out wide. Adam Reynolds converted to make it 6-0 – the halfback racking up his 500th career point.
The Dragons almost hit back immediately through Peter Mata’utia who dived on a kick into the in-goal to seemingly score. But the Dragons’ winger was unable to ground the ball in the in-goal.
Sam Burgess extended the Rabbitohs’ lead when he went in search of the ball out in the centres – the big Englishman carrying three defenders over the try-line before Reynolds added the extras with 10 minutes in the half remaining.
Joel Reddy then grabbed his second of the night when Issac Luke again set off a slick back-line movement that drew in the Dragons defence, allowing Greg Inglis to draw and pass to an unmarked Reddy out wide. Reynolds made it three from three with the boot to make it 18-0 with five minutes until the break.
Gerard Beale finally opened the Dragons’ account with one minute left on the clock when he raced over untouched in the corner. Gareth Widdop failed to convert, taking both teams to the break with the Rabbitohs leading 18-4.
A sloppy start to the second half saw both teams drop ball in the dewy conditions. But it was Souths who looked to have the upper-hand – forcing the Dragons deep in their own territory as the sides traded blows in the opening 22 minutes of the second half.
With the red and greens pressuring the Saints line, Adam Reynolds put boot to ball before regathering off a ricochet of a Dragons defender and scoring out wide to extend his sides lead, making it 22-4 with 17 minutes remaining.
On the re-start, the Dragons’ Mitch Rein was placed on report for a dangerous tackle on Thomas Burgess, allowing Souths to kick themselves into attacking position. Dylan Walker took full advantage of the opportunity by muscling his way over the stripe out wide. Walker converted his own try from just inside the touch-line to make it 28-4.
The Dragons went over for their first of the second half through Tyson Frizell on the back of a Benji Marshall chip. Gareth Widdop converted to make it 28-10 with ten minutes remaining.
With the clock winding down, Adam Reynolds booted a low trajectory field goal from 25 metres out to make the score an unusual 29-10 in favour of the men in red and green.
Rabbitohs 29 (Joel Reddy 2, Sam Burgess, Adam Reynolds, Dylan Walker, tries; Adam Reynolds 3, Dylan Walker 1, goals; Adam Reynolds 1 field goal)
Dragons 10 (Gerard Beale, Tyson Frizell tries; Gareth Widdop 1 goal)