The Rabbitohs NYC (under 20s) side has gone down to the St George Illawarra Dragons by 34-22 in Round 11 of the competition at ANZ Stadium after leading 16-8 at half-time.
After just eight minutes of play that saw the Rabbitohs put the Dragons under sustained pressure, Cam Murray broke through the line from close-range to grab the first points of the match. Chad O’Donnell converted to make it 6-0.
But while Souths would have all the early momentum, the Dragons would hit back half-way through the opening stanza when Paora Kemp crossed the line out wide twice in quick succession to take the score to 8-6 following two failed conversion attempts.
The teams threw everything they could at each other for the remainder of the half, and it would be Souths who would come out on top, when O’Donnell spotted the slightest of gaps to squeeze through, before passing a long, cut-out ball out to Tom Perrin on the wing who scored. O’Donnell struck the conversion perfectly to make it 12-8 with two minutes left in the half.
But as the siren sounded, the men in Red and Green would go over again through NYC debutant, Mawene Hiroti – the SG Ball graduate taking a beautiful cut-out pass from Liam Coleman down the short-side to score in the opposite corner. The teams would go to the sheds with Souths leading 16-8.
The Rabbitohs continued to dominate after the break, with Tim Davis snatching the ball in traffic to slam it down next to the posts – setting up an easy conversion for O’Donnell who would make it 22-8.
But the Dragons would not go down quietly though – the Red V beginning a damaging revival when halfback Jack Payne dummied before slicing through the Souths defence to grab his team’s third try of the night. Jai Field converted to bring the score to 22-14.
Not long afterwards, TJ Uele powered his way over for the Dragons, and with Field’s conversion, made it a two-point ball-game at 22-20.
The Rabbitohs lead would be lost with some 20 minutes in the match remaining, as the Dragons continued to dominate out wide – this time through Reuben Garrick, before Field added the extra’s from the touch-line to make it 26-22 in favour of the Saints.
Donte Efaraimo then added his name to the score-card for the Dragons to extend the visiting side’s lead to 30-22 as the clock wound down.
With five minutes remaining, Field grabbed a try of his own out wide to seal the match at 34-22.
Dragons 34 (Paora Kemp 2, Jack Payne, TJ Uele, Reuben Garrick, Donte Efaraimo, Jai Field, tries; Jai Field 3 goals)
Rabbitohs 22 (Cam Murray, Tom Perrin, Mawene Hiroti, Tim Davis, tries; Chad O’Donnell 3 goals)