Jack Walker reviews the Rabbitohs’ impressive win against the Bulldogs. Here’s how the game went.
|3rd||Try Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs)||Raibbitohs 0-4|
|4th||Goal Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 0-6|
|25th||Goal Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 0-8|
|36th||Try Marcelo Montoya (Bulldogs)||Rabbitohs 4-8|
|37th||Goal Nick Meaney (Bulldogs)||Rabbitohs 6-8|
|41st||Try Jaydn Su’A (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 6-12|
|43rd||Goal Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 6-14|
|54th||Try Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs)||Rabbitohs 10-14|
|58th||Try Cody Walker (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 10-18|
|59th||Goal Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 10-20|
|79th||Try Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 10-24|
|79th||Goal Adam Reynolds (Rabbitohs)||Rabbitohs 10-26|
Canterbury went into the game in shocking form, having lost their last three matches, including a 34-6 defeat to the Wests Tigers last time out.
South Sydney also lost their previous match, 20-12 against Penrith, but did win the two prior fixtures against the NZ Warriors and the Gold Coast – 40-12 and 32-12 respectively.
And it was the Rabbitohs who started the better in this one. The away side worked the ball well down the left and when it fell the way of Alex Johnston; the fullback skinned two Bulldogs defenders to race away and score in the corner.
Having shipped seven tries against the Wests Tigers last week, the hosts will have wanted to start this encounter far stronger defensively but, after Johnston’s opener, they did look much more solid.
Once they’d built confidence, the Bulldogs almost found the equalising try as Nick Meaney was inches away from collecting the ball in the in-goal area before it was batted away from his grasp.
This, however, wasn’t the hosts’ only chance of the first half.
Despite slipping further behind when Reynolds added another two points with 15 minutes of the half remaining, Canterbury kept fighting and applied extreme pressure to the Rabbitohs’ backline, forcing successive penalties of their own.
The visitors looked as though they were about to see out the set but, on the fifth tackle, Brandon Wakeham sent a beautiful dinked chip over the top of the South Sydney defence and Marcelo Montoya collected and grounded the ball with ease, reducing the half-time arrears to one score.
If the Rabbitohs started the first half well, they started the second 40 on fire. Straight from the off, the visitors headed for the in-goal area and, on the final play of the set, Adam Reynolds sent a cute grubber between the bodies and Jaydn Su’A grounded the ball to reinstate his side’s two-score lead.
The Bulldogs, however, were not about to go down without a fight. Just five metres out from the Rabbitohs’ line, Jeremy Marshall-King offloaded to Raymond Faitala-Mariner who bulldozed his way to the line to get the hosts right back in the contest.
But the Rabbitohs responded brilliantly. A series of quick-fire plays gave the Bulldogs defence no time to properly regroup and Cody Walker took full advantage, holding off the challenge of three players to shift the control of the game again. Reynolds kicked his fourth two-pointer of the match and the gap was increased to 10.
Incredibly, despite the Dogs consistently gaining ground down the flanks, there were no scores from either side until the final minute of the contest and, lo and behold, the Rabbitohs got it.
The hosts searched for a score that would’ve given them a glimmer of hope but Dane Gagai intercepted an offload in the corner and sprinted the length of the field down the right flank to score the final try; it was an easy win for South Sydney in the end.
There wasn’t a standout moment in terms of quality, but if we look at the importance of each try, the timing of Jaydn Su’A’s was impeccable. Having ended the first 40 indifferently, the Rabbitohs knew they needed to start the second half well, and boy did they do that. Within a minute after the restart and they were over and, strictly speaking, so was the match as the Dogs never truly recovered.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Marcelo Montoya 5. Christian Crichton 6. Kieran Foran 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott. Interchange: 14. Kerrod Holland 15. Dean Britt 16. Renouf To’omaga 17. Sauaso Sue.
South Sydney Rabbitohs:1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. Campbell Graham 4. James Roberts 5. Alex Johnston 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Liam Knight 16. Hame Sele 17. Braidon Burns 19. Patrick Mago.