Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 14
Tries: Mitch Brown, Michael Ennis
Goals: Trent Hodkinson 3/3
South Sydney Rabbitohs 21
Tries: Sam Burgess 2, Lote Tuqiri
Goals: Adam Reynolds 4/4
Field Goals: Adam Reynolds
It could be true that following Thursday night’s 21-14 victory over the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, the South Sydney Rabbitohs are in contention for a last-minute steal of the minor premiership and $100,000 cash prize from the Manly Sea Eagles. With an away game to the Sydney Roosters still on the agenda for the Rabbitohs while the Sea Eagles have two weeks to warm up their finals muscles against lower placed sides, it’s an unlikely feat for the Redfern side but it would ultimately boost their confidence when it comes finals time.
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs started the match with a bang when just minutes in, Josh Jackson appealed for a try after a Trent Hodkinson grubber kick ended up in the hands of the Bulldogs forward. But video referee replays showed the ball was indeed dropped before contact with the ground was made and play was waved on.
Isaac Luke was put on report early on for placing his studs in the face of Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis. This controversy ultimately resulted in winger Josh Morris charging through a gap in the Rabbitohs defensive line and pass to Mitch Brown who finished off the goods for a stellar try.
In the 26th minute, Michael Ennis and his heated encounter with a referee on the Bulldogs’ 20 metre line gave the Rabbitohs a penalty and a brilliant attacking opportunity. Just minutes later, English powerhouse and South Sydney forward Sam Burgess shook off the hip injury he obtained in the 16th minute and demolished the Bulldogs defense to get his team’s first points of the night. Adam Reynolds converted and made it 6-6.
Although the Bulldogs showed they wouldn’t go down without a fight in the 34th minute when captain Michael Ennis received one of the last standing ovation’s he’d receive from the fans in the blue and white when he dashed from dummy half position to score. Trent Hodkinson was able to maintain his 100% kicking rate and made it 12-6 to the Bulldogs at half time.
The Rabbitohs looked immensely threatening within the early minutes of the second half and were receiving the upper end of all penalties obtained, and who else to convert all this effort to points but Sam Burgess who tied the game with just 30 minutes left.
On the 54th minute, the intense nature of the match must have reached Trent Hodkinson when he decided to take the penalty goal from close range when his team was awarded a penalty that was just metres out from the try-line.
Once expatriate forwards James Graham and Sam Burgess returned from their injuries to the field, the game became heated. Adam Reynolds vented his frustration at Michael Ennis through an attempted biff after a high tackle from the Rabbitohs halfback on Moses Mbye put the Redfern local on report.
Chris McQueen went down injured in the 69th minute after James Graham’s head jarred his jaw. It almost looked as if the Bulldogs could hold on to their two point lead for the remainder of the game until the 72nd minute where a miraculous pass from Adam Reynolds to Lote Tuqiri diminished the faith.
Just 3 minutes later, the Rabbitohs were awarded a penalty thirty metres out from the Bulldogs try-line and the team as a whole decided to take a penalty goal which resulted in a 20-14 lead. To seal the deal, Adam Reynolds converted a field goal just two minutes out from full-time to send the ‘Glory, Glory’ chants ringing through out ANZ Stadium.