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Encouraging signs as Rabbitohs debut new halves pairing

Rabbitohs fans should have plenty to be excited for after their final trial match ahead of the 2022 NRL season, despite falling six points short to the St George Illawarra Dragons in their annual Charity Shield clash in Mudgee.

Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Dragons

The Rabbitohs ran in two tries to the Dragons four in front of just under 10 thousand fans at Glen Willow Oval.

Pre season matches are a chance for teams to blood new combinations and fine-tune their form and that’s what the Rabbitohs did in a game dominated by desperate defence and entertaining attack. 

“I thought we were brave in defence, kept turning up, was happy with the boys defensively but we’ve got to be a bit better with the footy,” Rabbitohs head coach Jason Demetrio said.

There was some signs of early season rust as the Rabbitohs struggled to maintain possession and complete their sets at times, but in the face of mounting pressure it was the Rabbitohs kicking prowess that shone through, and rookie halfback Lachlan Ilias was instrumental in that department. The young number 7 produced an impressive 20/40 kick that shifted the momentum of the half and got his side back into the contest. Ilias combined well with Cody Walker showing encouraging signs in what the Rabbitohs hope will be an exciting new halves pairing. 

“I thought Lachy had some really good moments, kicked well, defended well, it’s his first hit out it’s going to take time,” Demetriou added.

There were obvious differences from South Sydney’s first trial - one of them being the dominance of veteran five-eighth Cody Walker. His presence was felt across the park as he set the tone in his first hit out ahead of the 2022 season.

“I thought Cody looked sharp as usual, I thought the Dragons defended him really well but I still felt like he found ways to break them,” Demetriou added.

The Rabbitohs travel to Brisbane to take on the Broncos on March 11. An opening round hit out sure to have the South Sydney faithful on their feet as the Queensland side will be led by the Rabbitohs long serving former halfback and captain Adam Reynolds.

With Latrell Mitchell set to make his long anticipated return in round two, Blake Taaffe will maintain the number one jersey while Ilias will likely be rewarded for an encouraging Charity Shield performance with another run at halfback in round 1. 

Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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