The South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NYC side has fought back from a horrid start to claim victory against the Dragons at Redfern Oval this afternoon by 26-24.
Ill-discipline was the Rabbitohs’ own worst enemy in the opening exchanges with a string of penalties seeing the Dragons score three tries in quick succession.
On the back of three straight penalties, the Dragons took full advantage by getting early use of the ball on the Rabbitohs’ line, with Jack Kavanagh crashing over from short range to make it 4-0 in favour of the visitors.
The Saints backed it up mere minutes later on the back of yet more ill-discipline from the Rabbitohs – Patrick Herbert picking up a try to extend the Rec V’s lead.
With just over ten minutes gone in the match, the Rabbitohs finally got use of the ball inside their own side of half way. But poor ball control was about to set up another Dragons try, this to fullback Matt Dufty, who overcame a number of Dragons defenders to score and make it 12-0.
After a torrid period between the two teams that saw tempers flare on a number of occasions, the Rabbitohs finally hit back 13 minutes before the break when Irae Simone racing 20 metres to score out wide. Jordie Hedges’ conversion attempt hit the cross-bar, leaving the score at 12-4.
A Rabbitohs fight-back was underway just one minute from half time, with a set-play in centre-field seeing Wallace Tangiiti race in under the posts to narrow the gap. Hedges kicked the first try of the afternoon to make the half-time score 12-10 in favour of the visitors.
On the resumption, the Rabbitohs went straight back on the attack with Liam Coleman claiming first points of the second half and ultimately the lead for his side. Hedges added the extras from right in front to make it 16-12 in favour of the red and greens.
Aaron Booth tightened the red and green grip on the match when he seized an opportunity to take a run from dummy-half at short range – the hooker coming up with a four pointer right under the sticks. Hedges made no mistake to make it 22-12.
The Dragons weren’t dead and buried yet though, with Roland Kotobalavu and Dufty both racing through the middle of the Rabbitohs defence to score a try each to make it 22-20 – setting up a pressure conversion to equalise the clash. Herbert was equal to the task from out wide, grabbing the Dragons’ first conversion of the afternoon to lock the scores up at 22 apiece.
Ill-discipline was about to come back and haunt the Rabbits though, with a penalty to the Dragons within kicking distance allowing Herbert to kick his side ahead to 24-22.
The Rabbitohs dug deep though and replied minutes later through Damon Goolagong, who pounced on a kick into the in-goal out wide to reclaim the lead for the cardinal and myrtles.
Rabbitohs 26 (Irae Simone, Wallace Tangiiti, Liam Coleman, Aaron Booth, Damon Goolagong, gtries; Jordie Hedges 3 goals)
Dragons 24 (Jack Kavanagh, Patrick Herbert, Matt Dufty 2, Roland Kotobalavu, tries; Patrick Herbert 2 goals)