The South Sydney Rabbitohs Harold Matthews season has ended after a 36-30 defeat to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the Preliminary Final.
It was a brave effort from the young Rabbitohs, who clawed their way back from a 22-12 halftime deficit to come within four points of their opponents. But the mountain was just too high to climb as they suffered just their second defeat of the year to end their season one match away from the Grand Final.
It was a fast start from the Rabbitohs, with a familiar sight as captain and fullback Joseph Suaalii scored the first try of the match after just three minutes of play.
But the Bulldogs, coming off momentum from their win against the Balmain Tigers last week, scored four tries in ten minutes to eventually take a 22-12 halftime lead.
Not to be deterred though, the Rabbitohs closed the gap with the first try of the second stanza going to William Taliai, but their opponents brought back a ten-point advantage just a couple of minutes later.
As the match wore on, the determination and class of the Red and Green shone through as hooker Ratu Vesikula scored a second-half double, but all hopes were dashed as a penalty goal to the Bulldogs on the bell extended the lead to six, with their opponents.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 36 (Iverson Teo 2, Solomone Saukuru, Anthony Baptista, Paul Alamoti, Turoa Williams tries; Trieste Winitana 5 goals; Trieste Winitana penalty goal)
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 (Ratu Vesikula 2, Joseph Suaalii, Luca Ace-Nasteski, William Taliai tries; Joseph Nohra 5 goals)