The Rabbitohs have gone down to the St George Illawarra Dragons by 26-18 at Allianz Stadium this evening in the NYC with three players sent off.
Despite the Dragons being down a man for much of the match after the sending off of one of their players for a head-butt, the Saints were able to remain in control to fight out the victory. The Dragons’ Hame Sele and the Rabbitohs’ Eden Syme were then sent of on the stroke of full-time.
Despite the wet conditions, the opening stages of the match were played at a frenetic pace – the Dragons spreading the ball with little regard for the lack of grip on the football. And while the Red V would be given a number of opportunities on the Rabbitohs line thanks to a string of penalties and repeat sets, the red and green defence held strong.
With 14 minutes gone though, it would be the Saints who would draw first blood when a Thomas Carr break just over half-way eventually saw the winger draw and pass to fullback Matt Dufty to score a long range try.
Carr backed up with a try of his own mere minutes later when he got outside his opposite and raced to the corner-post to dive in millimetres inside the touch-line. James’ conversion attempt was waved away leaving the score at 10-0.
The Rabbitohs would go back on the attack though and when they finally found themselves within striking distance, Angus Crichton barged his way in under the sticks, defying three Dragons defenders to plant the ball down. Hedges added the extras to narrow the gap to 10-6.
The match took a slight turn when Dragons prop Jack Kavanagh was sent off for head-butting after being tackled – the Saints reduced to 12 men for the remainder of the match.
After trying in vain to go through the middle, the one man advantage finally yielded points for the Rabbitohs when Jordie Hedges spun the ball out the back-line before landing in the hands of Irae Simone who scored. Hedges converted to take the lead for the red and greens by 12-10.
On the following set, Aaron Booth went himself, breaking through before passing on to Jacob McCudden who was caught just short. But McCudden would offload to a flying Hedges before being grounded – the five eighth scoring before adding the extras himself to make it 18-10 going into the sheds.
After the break, a string of penalties to the Dragons put them on the front foot, allowing hooker Ryan Fletcher to dive over from dummy-half. James made no mistake with the conversion from short-range to make it a two-point ball-game at 18-16.
The Dragons would go back on the attack again and it would be Carr who would show plenty of pace to outrun the Rabbitohs defence to score his second of the evening. James added the extras to make it 20-18.
With 10 minutes in the match remaining, the Dragons’ Jacob Host hit a short-ball at speed before crashing over to extend the Saints’ lead. James again added the extras from right in front to make it 26-18.
Tempers flared in the closing stages of the match with a minor scuffle breaking out as the siren sounded. But the match would be
Dragons 26 (Matthew Dufty, Thomas Carr 2, Ryan Fletcher, Jacob Host, tries; Ryan James 4 goals)
Rabbitohs 18 (Angus Crichton, Irae Simone, Jordie Hedges, tries; Jordie Hedges 3 goals)