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Five Takeaways From Round 2

It was a see-sawing affair against our close rivals the St. George Illawarra Dragons at Kogarah Oval, with the Rabbitohs too good on the night, taking home a well-deserved two points. 

With that being said, here are my Five Takeaways from Round 2 against the Dragons. 

 

Murray in a Hurry

What a start Cameron Murray has had in 2019! 

He scored the first try last week after ten minutes, pouncing on a Reynolds grubber kick with aplomb, and he scored the opening try of the match in half the time against the Dragons almost seamlessly.

After a horror start with Dragons second-rower Tariq Sims looking to have scored, the Rabbitohs turned it around with a strong run and play the ball from Braidon Burns giving Damien Cook free space with no markers around.

Cook darted from dummy-half - and in support was Murray who took the ball on half-way, broke the line and threw a superb dummy to score a 50m pearler to start the match.

Now in his third year of first grade, plenty are tipping Murray for a big season - and he hasn’t disappointed yet.

Ill Discipline cruels Rabbitohs in first half

Perhaps the boys may have bought into the hype from the first round win, but it was a very un-South Sydney-like first half by the Rabbitohs at Kogarah.

After an early scare with the aforementioned Tariq Sims nearly going over, a two-on-one strip on Corey Norman, then a high hit on Mikaele Ravalawa led to a Jordan Perreira try.

Soon after the Red and Green gave another penalty after getting the ball back, and then a lazy charge down gave the Dragons six again. Yet another penalty followed, which then gave the Dragons the chance to get up by six. 

The last ten minutes then gave some promise, coach Wayne Bennett must have said something special at the break because…

It was a special second-half effort 

Although we didn’t score any points and still gave away some penalties and made a number of errors, that last ten of the first half gave a morale boost to the Red and Green. 

And that transitioned into the second stanza as an early heads up kick from Cody Walker caught fullback Gareth Widdop off, which then saw a Braidon Burns kick force a knock on from the Englishman. Our own British star, Sam Burgess, was the recipient of good work as he put the ball down to level the scores less than five minutes into the second stanza to even the scores. 

And just minutes later Burgess was at it again, running a great line off Adam Reynolds to set up Cody Walker with a beautifully timed offload. 

The left side orchestrated by Walker saw Braidon Burns and Campbell Graham touch down, with Slammin’ Sam getting his double to tie up the result in the 70th minute.  

Although the Dragons scored a late consolation try, it made no difference as the Rabbitohs trampled over the red v to get their ninth win at Kogarah. 

Burns rewarded for good work

What a game young Braidon Burns had.

The 22-year-old centre has begun his career as a starting player with great impact - with 176 running metres (most out of any player in the match) from 16 runs, a linebreak, seven tackle breaks, a forced drop-out and an all-important try against the Dragons. 

Burns was highly-involved throughout the game, earning his side the ball back in the second half with an audacious kick which saw the Dragons cough up possession. On the next play the Rabbitohs scored, and then in the 55th minute he put the ball down himself for his first try of the year with a well-timed gather of a Reynolds grubber. 

He then forced a drop-out with a deft kick, and made a late break all whilst keeping the highly-touted Euan Aitken quiet all night. 

It’s been an impressive start from Burns, and if he keeps this up I think he will be in for a special year.

Forward impact plays its part

It may have been subtle, but Wayne Bennett's decision to put Kyle Turner on the bench in exchange of Corey Allan was a masterstroke at game's end. 

It was well publicised that St. George Illawarra fielded a depleted forward pack without Jack de Belin, Tyson Frizell and Korbin Sims, three of their biggest and most influential toilers with Bennett taking full advantage with a four-man forward bench.

While the Cardinal and Myrtle were caught off-guard by a fired-up Dragons side in the first half, it was quite the opposite in the second half, with the Rabbitohs producing more running metres (1639 to 1563) and post-contact metres (340-317). 

That added momentum and energy off the bench in the middle made all the difference, as the Red and Green went on to record a famous six tries to three victory.

 

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