Canterbury Cup side do Old Boys proud in big win over Knights

The South Sydney Rabbitohs' Canterbury Cup side have come away with a dominant 26-6 win over the Newcastle Knights at the Metricon High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval on Old Boys' Day. 

From the outset the Rabbitohs looked to do their predecessors proud, dominating their opponents for a majority of the match as young outside back Jaxson Paulo starred with a double. 

A number of changes saw the side bolstered by the inclusion of Mark Nicholls, with captain Billy Brittain backing up from his stint in the NRL the previous night.

And Brittain's inclusion was a welcome addition to the side, as the rake took advantage of a scrambled Newcastle defence to go over for the first try of the match after just three minutes.

The Rabbitohs defence muscled up to force their opponents into making basic errors, and with a penalty gifting the side territory and a deft kick from halfback Blake Taaffe forcing an error from the Knights, but a dropped ball from Rhys Kennedy alleviated pressure. 

The Knights looked to gain some momentum, forcing a drop-out with a well-placed kick, but the brutal defence shown from the Red and Green wall forced an error.

Souths looked to employ some razzle-dazzle, with a Kennedy offload setting up second rower Dean Britt to make a break through and hand the ball to Taaffe, but the young halfback's pass to his outside men was intercepted by the Knights.

The structured defence from the home side continued to shine through, this time with an error forcing a pass to go out.

With the forwards making inroads downfield and the halves forcing errors through their deceptive kicking, the Rabbitohs looked destined to go over again, but a penalty in front saw Levi Dodd add two points to give the side an eight-point buffer with just under a quarter of the match gone. 

The work of outside backs Jaxson Paulo, Jacob Gagan and Dodd saw the Rabbitohs gaining easy territory, and young winger Kane Allan nearly added his name to the scoresheet, only to drop a high kick close to the line.

But the Red and Green were on the attack soon again having forced yet another error, and after a clothesline tackle on Bayley Sironen from Tautau Moga gave the side another set of six, with the five-eighth going off the field for a HIA.

However, the Rabbitohs soon gained the advantage as Jaxson Paulo crossed in the corner after a left-side shift. 

A break from Moga saw the centre nearly go over for the Knights' first, but a try-saving tackle from Allan prevented him from going over. However, the young winger was sin binned for holding too long.

But try as they might, Newcastle's attack continued to get found out by the Cardinal and Myrtle brick wall, first with a try-saving tackle forcing an error, and then Billy Brittain intercepting a would-be pass to score. 

After a dominant first half from the Rabbitohs, it was the Knights who scored first as a break down the left side saw fullback Tex Hoy score after just two minutes of the second forty.

True to their nature, however, the Rabbitohs defence made amends, forcing an error from the kick-off, and soon it was Jacob Gagan who cut through the defence to score with a quick reply. 

An error from Dean Britt gave the Knights an opportunity to return serve, but Blake Taffe employed some silky skills, making a one-handed pick up to gather in a grubber kick. 

Tom Amone nearly saw his name on the scoresheet, but in a contentious call from the referee, the hulking prop was deemed to be held up over the line.

On the ensuing set, a Knights break through the middle of the field set up a line drop-out, with another dubious call made with a Newcastle player kicking a ball ahead with an offside player gathering it.

Despite back-to-back penalties favouring their opponents, the Rabbitohs defence held strong, forcing yet another error. A strong carry from Yileen 'Buddy' Gordon got the Red and Green back on the front-foot, and with a penalty for a strip going against the defence, it was the perfect time to strike again.

Another head-high tackle from Moga, this time on Trent Peoples, saw the second sin-binning of the day, with the Newcastle centre given his marching orders.

From there, the side looked eager to go over again, showing some extravagant offloading and frantic passing and unable to take advantage of their one-man advantage.

And soon enough Paulo was over for his second, deputising at fullback and chiming inside a Dean Britt break to score under the posts. 

With the wind behind their backs, the Rabbitohs continued their dominance, shutting down everything Newcastle had to throw at them, taking home a dominant 20-point win. 

 

South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 (Jaxson Paulo 2, Billy Brittain, Jacob Gagan tries; Levi Dodd 4 goals; Levi Dodd penalty goal)

def

Newcastle Knights 6 (Tex Hoy try; Bayden Searle goal)