The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ under 20s NYC side has gone down to the St George Illawarra Dragons by 36-24 at ANZ Stadium in round 12.
The Dragons opened the scoring inside the first five minutes when front rower Dylan Lauri steamed onto a short-ball at close-range to score under the sticks. Halfback Adam Clune converted to give the Dragons an early six point lead.
Souths hit back just five minutes later when a cross-field kick from Wallace Tangiiti found winger, Tom Hughes on the fly to score in the corner. Irae Simone was unable to convert, leaving the score at 6-4.
The Rabbitohs went on the front foot, attacking the Dragons line with purpose. But it was big prop PJ Lose who showed the most intent by powering over the Saints defence to score. Simone made no mistake to make it 10-6 with 15 minutes gone.
The two sides traded blows until 15 minutes before half-time when Dragons replacement winger Rowland Kotobalau scored in the corner, with Hayden McCrae converting to re-take the lead at 12-10.
Dragons fullback Matt Duffy backed the effort up mere minutes later when he raced through some disjointed Rabbitohs defence to score adjacent to the posts. McCrae converted to make it 18-10 in the Dragons’ favour.
Rabbitohs hooker Aaron Booth took matters into his own hands when he dived over from dummy half under the sticks. Simone added the extras to make it a two point ball-game at 18-16, before Dragons front-rower Addin Fonua-Blake scored one of his own. McCrae converted to take the teams to the break with Saints leading 24-16.
On the resumption, Cameron McInnes celebrated his return to the NYC by scoring a try from dummy-half in characteristic fashion to make it 24-20.
The Dragons hit back again though with Fonua-Blake bagging his second of the night by showing great strength to power over out wide. McCrae converted to make it 30-20.
With just under seven minutes in the match remaining, the Dragons were back in through winger William Tom, who raced 30 metres to cross in the corner. McCrae again added the extras to make it 36-20 in the Dragons’ favour.
With the clock winding down, the Rabbitohs scored a consolation try through Irae Simone to make the final score 36-24 in the Dragons’ favour to round out the match.
Dragons 36 (Dylan Lauri, Rowland Kotobalau, Addin Fonua-Blake 2, William Tom, tries; Adam Clune 1, Hayden McCrae 5 goals)
Rabbitohs 24 (Tom Hughes, PJ Lose, Aaron Booth, Cameron McInnes, Irae Simone, tries; Irae Simone 2 goals)