The South Sydney Rabbitohs Jersey Flegg side have made a statement by recording a 22-6 victory against the third-placed Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Good Friday.
Continuing from their win against the Warriors, it was another strong start for the Red and Green, with a penalty and an error giving them prime territory to land the first blow. A quick play the ball then saw halfback Blake Taaffe putting Volkan Er over for the first try of the match with a well-timed pass.
An error from the kick-off gave their opponents a chance to hit back, but strong defence and great communication between the outside backs saw a grubber kick recovered with ease.
More ill-discipline from the Bulldogs continued to hand over territory for the Rabbitohs, who displayed slick attacking skills with offloads, quick play the balls and kick pressure continuing to put their opponents on the back-foot.
Fullback James Tautaiolefua continued his strong form after scoring a double last week, taking a kick from the in-goal to get himself out to the field of play in a match-defining play.
Although the Bulldogs continued to probe in attack, it was the Rabbitohs who displayed strong goal-line defence, continuing to hold off their opponents with every touch of the ball.
A half-break from five-eighth Marc Zaurrini allowed Tautaiolefua to burst through on the next set, and with the Bulldogs making an error from a kick, it was another chance for the Cardinal and Myrtle to strike.
But an error from the next set alleviated all the pressure for their opponents, and despite more ball-playing sending centre Tallis Angianga through the line, the Rabbitohs failed to capitalise on their field position. A strong tackle from Nick Mougios and Kane Allan prevented the Bulldogs from scoring with a desperate tackle to hold the ball up, with the scores remaining at the break.
However, it was the Bulldogs who came out firing in the second half, with a linebreak on the resumption setting them up in the Rabbitohs half, with a ricochet from a kick putting them over to score and the conversion giving them the lead for the first time in the match.
A penalty on halfway gave their opponents further ammunition, but not to be deterred, the Red and Green held off another attacking raid.
But the Bulldogs continued to gain the ascendency, with a fifth-tackle kick being knocked on from Er, but despite ill-discipline continuing to cruel the side, the Red and Green continued to grow as the match wore on.
With the Rabbitohs on the attack, more chances came as Nick Mougios was held up over the line, and with a deft kick forcing a drop-out, the Red and Green were over soon after again as Brock Gardner crashed over from the tap.
And the momentum continued as the kick-off went out on the full, giving the side a perfect chance to go back-to-back, with debutant Peter Mamouzelos going over with a trademark run from dummy-half.
Another great kick saw the Bulldogs kick a drop-out, and after a penalty in front of the sticks, the side went for goal to give them a 12-point lead with seven left on the clock.
A match-sealing try went begging as Augustine Stowers crashed over only for the ball to go to ground, but fleet-footed winger Kane Allan managed to streak away to seal the deal for the Red and Green.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 (Volkan Er, Brock Gardner, Peter Mamouzelos, Kane Allan tries; Blake Taaffe 2 goals; Blake Taaffe penalty goal)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6