After two contrasting performances in round 1, St George Illawarra and South Sydney Rabbitohs resume hostilities after last years semi-final clash to kick off round 2 of the 2019 season.
South Sydney have showed their intent early on this year. They have always looked like a team that when things begin to go right for them, regardless of who they are playing, they are hard to stop. And that was exactly the case when the Rabbitohs turned a 12-6 half-time deficit into a 34-18 victory against a down-on-their-luck St George Illawarra Dragons outfit. After an early chance to Tariq Simms went begging, Souths opened the scoring through Cameron Murray. The opportunity came off the back of a strong dummy half run from Damien Cook who, realising there were no markers, sprinted off and put Cameron Murray away. But Souths failed to kick on from that moment, as St George began to show intent and energy throughout the rest of the half. They were able to take advantage of this momentum with two tries to Jordan Pereira coming from nice work by Gareth Widdop and Corey Norman respectively.
The second half was where it all turned and Sam Burgess and Cody Walker ignited Souths back into the game. Their run of five tries in thirty minutes, which included a double to Sam Burgess, was enough to dampen the home supporters’ spirits after being optimistic at halftime. One of the tries came from a dubious pass out of dummy half but, regardless, the damage was already done as Souths began to tear St George’s right side defence to pieces with Braidon Burns and Campbell Graham joining the try scoring list. Like last week, St George were the last to score, this time through Tim Lafai, but all it did was add respectability to a half of football that the Dragons let get away. The Rabbitohs getting off to a 2-0 start to year with a 34-18 victory over the Dragons on Thursday night.
Last week, the Dragons were torn apart by Jason Taumalolo, this week it was Sam Burgess. Sam Burgess was immense in helping turn the tide in the second half, scoring two tries, setting up one, and leading the way with his aggressive style of play.
CAMERON LEADING THE WAY
Two weeks in a row Cameron Murray has been the first try scorer, in what can only be a sign of great things to come for the young lock. His end to 2018 hinted at bigger things, and with the loss of Angus Crichton, he has kicked up another gear at the beginning of this season. He has become a very important and potent part of South Sydney’s attack and is clearly destined for higher honours.
PEREIRA FINDS THE LINE
Jordan Pereira came late into first grade but is certainly making the most of his opportunities. Crossing for two tries tonight to add to his one in the first round, he is turning into a reliable winger who knows how to find the line. His emergence has come at a great time for the club after losing veteran Jason Nightingale to retirement.
The depth of St George is truly being tested this early in the season. Without three of their front line forwards, and down on confidence, they are struggling to keep themselves in games, after the second week of being blown away. This has meant that the experiment of injecting Matt Dufty late into the game hasn’t reached it’s full potential with his involvement coming when both matches have seemingly been over.
St George Ilawarra Dragon 18
Tries: Jordan Pereira 2, Tim Lafai
Goals: Gareth Widdop 3/4
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34
Tries: Sam Burgess 2, Cameron Murray, Cody Walker, Braidon Burns, Campbell Graham
Goals: Adam Reynolds 5/6
St George Ilawarra Dragons: 1 Gareth Widdop (c) 2 Jordan Pereira 3 Euan Aitken 4 Tim Lafai 5 Mikaele Ravalawa 6 Corey Norman 7 Ben Hunt 8 James Graham 9 Cameron McInnes 10 Paul Vaughan 11 Jacob Host 12 Tariq Sims 13 Blake Lawrie 14 Jeremy Latimore 15 Matt Dufty 16 Josh Kerr 17 Luciano Leilua
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston 2 Dane Gagai 3 Greg Inglis (c) 4 Braidon Burns 5 Campbell Graham 6 Cody Walker 7 Adam Reynolds 8 Junior Tatola 9 Damien Cook 10 Tom Burgess 11 John Sutton 12 Sam Burgess 13 Cameron Murray 14 Liam Knight 15 Mark Nicholls 16 Ethan Lowe 17 Kyle Turner