The South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC side has drawn with St George Illawarra this afternoon in a trial match at Redfern Oval to the tune of 28 points apiece.
The result is the Club’s third draw during the 2015 pre-season period across first grade and the NYC, following last week’s draw with the Northern Pride at the same venue, and the Charity Shield against the Dragons at ANZ Stadium the week before.
After a fairly even start to the game from both sides, the Dragons were able to crack the Rabbitohs left edge defence, through a burrowing try from dummy half by Paora Kemp.
Kemp spotted space when the Rabbitohs outside men failed to move quickly enough off the try line. He converted his own four-pointer from out wide to give the visitors a 6-0 advantage, 10 minutes into the game.
Despite the Dragons growth in confidence and momentum, the boys from Redfern managed to capitalise on back-to-back penalties, when skipper, Aaron Booth, also scurried over in the 18th minute from short distance.
Jordie Hedges converted from adjacent to the uprights, which evened the score to a converted try apiece.
A great set after points by the Rabbitohs, led by Cheyne Whitelaw lifted the intensity of the game. As a result, chances through second phase play became more frequent.
The Dragons were looking likely to score their second try of the game before a wayward pass back in-field saw left edge centre, John Olive, scoop up the loose ball and sprint the best part of 70 metres to score. Hedges converted, again giving the Rabbitohs the lead with the score at 12-6.
Both teams were guilty of ill-discipline, which resulted in constant momentum shifts. Adam Clune orchestrated effective plays for the Dragons, however as a team, they failed to take advantage.
As a result John Olive bagged a first half double, after a well-constructed back-line-shift gave Olive enough room to beat his opposing centre. Hedges was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt, which left the score at 16-6, 10 minutes from half time.
The Dragons looked to their senior men in order to spark their team and were successful. Captain, Clune, picked out a high-flying Izaak Thompson with a precision cross-field kick, which was juggled then retained before the big left centre planted the ball for a try.
With the siren approaching, Paora Kemp converted 10 metres in from the sideline, taking the half time score to 16-12 to the Rabbitohs.
The Dragons thrived off this and opened the scoring for the second half through fullback, Tom Carr, assisted again by Clune. Kemp converted with his easiest attempt of the game. This regained the lead for the Dragons only five minutes after the break.
The Rabbitohs were quick to hit back however, through Josh Ellison in the 49th minute, after some slick hands from Hedges and Olive gave the winger enough space to dive over in the north-western corner.
Hedges impressively converted the try from the sideline, extending the Rabbitohs lead by four points at 22-18.
The Dragons proved resilient however as they were next to score through Lachlan Stein, with yet another dummy half try proving that both teams still had pre-season rust. The conversion attempt by Kemp was waved away which leveled the score at 22 points apiece.
The see-sawing didn't stop there however, when senior players Aaron Booth and Cheyne Whitelaw combined for a try. A Dragons dropped ball from the kick-off proved costly as Whitelaw was able to add himself to the score sheet.
Hedges’ conversion bumped their lead back up to six points, bringing the score to 28-22 with only a quarter left in play.
The last 20 minutes of the game featured solid defence but also poor handling from both teams.
It was the visitors who had the last say of the match however, through Thomas Freebairn in the 80th minute, who stormed on to a short ball with only the fullback to beat.
Late foot-work by Freebairn saw the lock-forward cross under the goal posts while Kemp converted the try. As a result, the match was drawn with the final score at 28-28.
Rabbitohs 28 (John Olive 2, Aaron Booth, Josh Ellison, Cheyne Whitelaw, tries; Jordie Hedges 4 goals)
Dragons 28 (Paora Kemp, Izaac Thompson, Tom Carr, Lachlan Stein, Thomas Freebairn, tries; Paora Kemp 4 goals)