The Rabbitohs NYC side showed plenty of fight in their tight round seven loss to the 13th placed Bulldogs, going down 30-24 in a match that could’ve gone either way.
The Bulldogs got us underway in our round seven NYC clash - a perfect day for footy with the mercury sitting at a comfortable 23°C and the sun shining in a blue sky.
The home side had a nervy start to the contest with an early fumble by fullback Ben Cassell and a bad play the ball costing them possession on half way shortly after. However, they grew into the match at ANZ Stadium and found themselves in scoring position on several occasions.
On the back of some staunch defending the Rabbitohs found their way up field to break the deadlock in the 15th minute. A curving grubber from halfback Adam Doueihi was pounced on by fullback Beau Cordtz to score. Doueihi converted and the Rabbitohs took a 6-0 lead.
It would take some time but the Bulldogs would hit back through winger Kiko Manu with a sweeping move to the right that caught the Rabbitohs short in the 24th minute. Adam Keighran would convert from the sidelines to even the score 6-6.
The scores wouldn’t remain tied for long as Bulldogs halfback Adam Keighran found the tryline 10 metres in from touch on the left side of the field. Keighran converted his own try and the Bulldogs would lead the contest 12-6 after 30 minutes.
The Bulldogs would further increase the advantage, scoring on the left side of the field through fullback Ben Cassell in the 32nd minute. Keighran slotted his conversion to give the Bulldogs a 12 point buffer. Souths 6 – 18 Bulldogs.
The Rabbitohs would snatch one back before the half through young winger Tyrone Taukamo in the 38th minute. Doueihi would convert a difficult kick from the right touchline to pull the Rabbitohs back into the contest.
We’d go into the sheds with The Bulldogs leading 18-12.
Harry Leddy set the tone for the second half with a heavy, try saving tackle on the much bigger Jayden Okunbor.
The first 15 minutes of the second half proved poor for both teams with numerous handling making it hard for either team to establish themselves. The Rabbitohs came closest to scoring after a line break from Adam Doueihi but the Bulldogs defence scrambled well to stop the young Rabbitoh.
The Rabbitohs would end the second half drought just before the 58th minute through captain Campbell Graham after a quick movement on the right. Adam Doueihi converted and the scores would become level at 18-all.
The Bulldogs would regain the lead in the 61st minute after a barnstorming run by Bulldogs forward Jayden Okunbor who would score on the left edge. Halfback Adam Keighran would continue his perfect day with the boot by converting his fourth attempt to push the Bulldogs to a 24-18 lead.
The Rabbitohs would fall further behind after Adam Keighran scored his second try of the day – targeting the same left edge that offered them the previous try. He’d convert another difficult kick and leave the Bulldogs with a 12 point buffer after 67 minutes.
The game wasn’t over there, Josh Saunders powered through the Bulldogs defensive line in the 72nd minute to pull the Rabbitohs to within 6 points of the Bulldogs. Doueihi converted quickly and the score would sit at 30-24.
The Rabbitohs would suffer a late injury to Tarquinn Butler who was carried off the field in the 75th minute - prematurely ending a solid performance from the talented second-rower.
Piling on the pressure in the last 10 minutes, it wasn’t to be for the Rabbitohs under 20s side as they couldn’t find that late equaliser. Bulldogs would take the points for our round seven clash.
Bulldogs 30 (Keighran 2, Manu, Cassell, Okunbor tries; Keighran 5 goal)
Souths 24 (Cordtz, Taukamo, Graham, Saunders tries; Doueihi 4 goals)