The South Sydney Rabbitohs have secured back to back victories with a formidable 28-14 victory over an uninspiring Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs side at ANZ stadium on Thursday night.
Souths in Control
The Bunnies are certainly set to finish the season off on good terms as their strong forward pack and an excellent kicking game from Adam Reynolds were key factors to their convincing victory.
The Bulldogs on the other hand were lucky they only lost by 14 points. It proved to be another sad old tale to their poor 2017 campaign. Leadership and direction wasn’t present in their attack at all and their fans will be praying that by next season their attacking woes can be resolved.
The Rabbitohs fired out of the blocks through Bryson Goodwin who scored near the touchline off the back of a simple left side attacking movement inside the Bulldogs 20 metre zone. Adam Reynolds added the extra two points which gave his side an early 6-nil lead.
The home side were in control of the game as Adam Reynolds had a terrific night with his kicking game. Forwards Angus Crichton, the three Burgess boys and dummy half Damien Cook gained plenty of metres with their runs and took advantage of a Bulldogs team that struggled to muscle up in defence.
Damien Cook caught the Canterbury defence napping and bolted down the middle of the park, and sent speed star Alex Johnston over to score. Reynolds was at ease with his conversion from right in front of the sticks as Souths led 12-nil.
The only serious chance for Canterbury came from Josh Reynolds who received a great short darting ball from Moses Mybe 10 metres out. Sam Burgess produced an amazing one on one tackle which prevented the Bulldogs from scoring a try in the first half.
This prompted the Rabbitohs to work themselves up the field as Adam Reynolds slotted a penalty goal adjacent to the uprights and South Sydney led 14-nil.
Strange Penalty Goal and Bulldogs Attacking Woes
For the last five minutes of the first half the Bulldogs finally enjoyed having possession in enemy territory. It was what they came up had a lot of people putting their head into their hands in disgust. There were too many times when the ball ended up in the hands of forward on the fifth or last tackle.
Bulldogs fans were stunned when their side opted for two points despite being behind by 14 points and a decision which left fans at the ground speechless. Chase Stanley slotted a penalty goal right in front of the uprights which prevented the Belmore boys going scoreless in the first half for the seventh time this season. At half-time the Bulldogs trailed Souths by 14-2.
Canterbury started the second half in the best way possible as a Matt Frawley cross field kick found the hands of Chase Stanley who converted his own try and reduced the Rabbitohs lead to 6.
The Bulldogs penalty conversion before the break was starting to look like a stroke of genius but they soon went back to their old and troubling habits and coughed possession off the kick off.
The Bunnies would put the sword threw their hearts as Alex Johnston barged over for his second try of the match. Reynolds landed the conversion and Souths led 20-8.
Josh Reynolds Heartache and Souths Triumph
There was more headaches for Dogs fans, as Josh Reynolds was ruled out for the rest of game with an injury. The image of him in the dressing shed summed up not only how the Bulldogs played last night. It summed up the disappointing story of 2017.
The boys from Redfern finished of the match in captivating style. Aaron Gray was solid in his first game back from his achilles injury and claimed a nice try of his own. Adam Reynolds further proved why he is one of the best goal kickers in the competition and slotted two more goals.
Out of absolutely nothing James Graham claimed his first four pointer in 2017 which was well deserved and was by far one of the better forwards for Canterbury on the night. Chase Stanley put the ball between the wood work. At full-time Canterbury slumped to their fourth loss in as many matches with Souths claiming victory by 28-14.
Souths Find Form While Bulldogs Need Change
The Rabbitohs are starting to find their groove and their supporters might see a resurgence come 2018. Sam, Thomas and George Burgess copped plenty of criticism over the week but they certainly had the last chuckle and produced a great performance. The younger players like Angus Crichton, Campbell Graham and Cameron Murray further proved that they have a long and prosperous future in the red and green jumper. If the Bunnies can finish the year off strongly then it will give them much needed confidence heading into 2018.
If the Bulldogs finish their last three rounds without victory then changes must be made. Hasler and his men need to adopt a new and innovative way of playing football. Right now their standard of attacking football isn’t up to the NRL level. They have scored only 276 points in 21 games of football and have not exceeded the 24 point mark in any match this year. Their backs need to have more of a say on fifth tackle options. The forwards have dictated and lead their attack successfully in previous seasons. This style off football isn’t working as it used too. A better kicking game and a few changes in their roster will enable the Bulldogs to score more points and become a better side come 2018.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28
Tries: Alex Johnston 2, Bryson Goodwin, Aaron Gray
Goals: Adam Reynolds 6
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 14
Tries: Chase Stanley, James Graham
Goals: Chase Stanley 3
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