The South Sydney Rabbitohs have added another chapter to their rivalry with the Dragons at the SCG, deconstructing the Saints by 24-8 in front of 18,217 Members and supporters tonight.
A controlled performance from Adam Reynolds and Greg Inglis helped the red and greens to victory, with Reynolds picking up a freakish try off the SCG pads while also setting up a try for his halves partner, Luke Keary mere moments later. Reynolds also broke through the 700 career points mark with a personal haul of 12 points tonight.
In what was a fantastic team performance though, the Rabbitohs missed only 11 tackles during the course of the 80 minutes – keeping the Dragons to two unconverted tries.
A mistake from Cameron McInnes inside his own half saw the Dragons get first meaningful use of the ball, and after Ben Creagh nearly got the ball away for a try, Justin Hunt seemed to be the beneficiary of an overlap. Hunt dived over in the corner inside the first five minutes to seemingly open the scoring, but the video referee deemed that Hunt had lost the ball.
But it would be Dylan Walker who would take first try honours when the Test centre took the ball from dummy-half before racing 30 metres through the Dragons defence to score a brilliant solo try. Adam Reynolds slotted the conversion beautifully millimetres in from touch to give Souths a six point lead.
An opportunity went begging when John Sutton burst through the Dragons line just over half-way with Greg Inglis in support. Sutton opted to pass on to Inglis, but the Rabbitohs skipper briefly took his eye off the ball only to knock on.
With nine minutes in the half remaining, a penalty to the Rabbitohs 38 metres out, and on a slight angle, saw Adam Reynolds take a shot at goal. Reynolds’ attempt missed the mark but was bizarrely allowed to go dead by the Dragons, giving the red and greens another shot at the line on the back of a 20 metre drop-out.
Another two penalties from the ensuing set saw Reynolds get another shot at goal, this time from just over 10 metres out. Reynolds made no mistake to make it 8-0 with six minutes remaining.
The Dragons would have the final say of the first half though when Justin Hunt managed to better his earlier attempt by scoring under similar circumstances to his disallowed try. The teams would go into the sheds with the Rabbitohs leading 8-4.
On the resumption, an arm wrestle ensued that saw both teams trade opportunities and penalties as they went from end to end in search of points. Bryson Goodwin would give the Rabbitohs a perfect opportunity when he earned his team a repeat set thanks to a well-weighted kick that would catch Josh Dugan in-goal.
Benji Marshall went short with his line-drop-out, but it would prove a costly error in judgment, with a back-line movement from the Rabbitohs going through the hands of Reynolds and Inglis before hitting an unmarked Alex Johnston to score out wide. Reynolds’ conversion attempt was off target, leaving the score at 12-4 with 20 minutes left on the clock.
The Dragons got back on the board with 11 minutes in the match remaining when Josh Dugan did well to juggle the ball down the touch-line before stepping through the Rabbitohs outside backs to plant the ball down just inside touch. Gareth Widdop’s conversion attempt was waved away leaving the score at the 1965 Grand Final score of 12-8 – only this time in Souths’ favour.
But Adam Reynolds was about to turn the tide. With the Rabbitohs on the attack at the northern end of the ground, Reynolds grubbered into the upright before picking the ball up off the pads to score a brilliant try. The half converted his own try to make it 18-8.
Reynolds was at it again with just under four minutes left when he again grubbered into the in-goal and found a flying Luke Keary, who picked up the ball to score a four-pointer to seal the match. Reynolds made no mistake from right in front to make the final score 24-8.
Rabbitohs 24 (Dylan Walker, Alex Johnston, Adam Reynolds, Luke Keary, tries; Adam Reynolds 4 goals)
Dragons 8 (Justin Hunt, Josh Dugan, tries)