Injuries to Greg Inglis and Josh Dugan have overshadowed South Sydney’s comfortable 38-20 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons in the 2014 Charity Shield match played in front of 14,633 fans at WIN Stadium in Wollongong this afternoon.
Inglis left the field in the 44th minute following a collision with Dragons prop Dan Hunt, while Josh Dugan may have strained a medial ligament in his knee in attempting to stop a George Burgess try in the 57th minute.
Inglis was later cleared of any serious injury, while Dugan will have scans on Monday to find out the full extent of his injury, which puts him in doubt for the Dragons’ round one match against the Wests Tigers on March 9.
The Rabbitohs dominated much of the match and led 22-4 at half time before sending out their younger players late in the game, where the Dragons were able to add some respectability to the scoreline.
The Rabbitohs jumped out to a 12-0 lead early on, thanks to tries to Beau Champion and Bryson Goodwin before a slick back line movement involving Sam Williams, Dylan Farrell and Josh Dugan found winger Jason Nightingale who slid over for his sides’ first points.
Two more first half tries ensured the Rabbitohs went into the sheds full of confidence, while Dragons coach Steve Price had plenty of work to do to, with his side found wanting in defence and looking lost in attack, despite opening the match with three consecutive sets at the Rabbitohs line.
The Rabbitohs were first to score after the break through Chris McQueen, which pushed the score out to 26-4 before Inglis’ injury, which forced Alex Johnston to come on as a replacement.
An Isaac Luke try from dummy half kept the points flowing for the Rabbitohs and Goodwin’s conversion made it 32-4 to put the game to bed.
Dugan’s injury occurred bravely trying to stop a George Burgess try, which when converted, made it 38-4 with twenty minutes left.
The game lost some of its’ lustre in the final twenty minutes as the Rabbitohs gave some of their young players some game time and the Dragons took advantage, scoring three late tries, including a double to centre Peter Mata’utia, but were ultimately outclassed by the Rabbitohs.
John Sutton was the best for the visitors, easily shifting back to five eighth following the withdrawals of both Adam Reynolds and Luke Keary. Despite the scoreline no one else really stood out for the Rabbitohs. For the Dragons, Leeson Ah Mau was easily the best, constantly busting tackles and going close to scoring on a couple of occasions. Widdop showed promise as did Michael Witt who out shone Sam Williams in the battle for the half back spot. Coming off the bench, Kyle Stanley showed some nice touches despite an embarrassing error when he forgot to pick the ball up at dummy half, gifting possession to the opposition.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 38 (Goodwin, Champion, G.Burgess, Luke, McQueen, Picker, Tuqiri tries; Goodwin 5/7) defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 20 (Mata’utia 2, Quinaln, Nightingale tries; Widdop 2/4) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong.
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