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2021 NRL Round 18, Rabbitohs 32 Bulldogs 24 – Report

Michael Schirripa reviews the Round 18 clash between South Sydney and Canterbury at Cbus Super Stadium (Gold Coast). Here’s how the game went. reviews. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Rabbitohs 32

Tries: Taane Milne (13), Alex Johnston (18, 41), Jacob Host (60), Cameron Murray (63), Mark Nicholls (73).

Goals: Adam Reynolds (19, 43, 46 – pen, 61).

Bulldogs 24

Tries: Aaron Schuopp (27), Corey Allen (32), Jayden Okunbor (52), Bailey Biondi-Odo (65).

Goals: Jake Averillo (29, 34, 53, 67).

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
2 pts – Mark Nicholls (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
1 pt – Keaon Kolomatangi (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

With the sides at opposite ends of the table, South Sydney were trying to consolidate a place inside the top four, while the Bulldogs were trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Rabbitohs started like the team with it all to play for; it took 14 minutes to crack the stubborn Bulldogs defence, but on the back of a stunning flick pass from Campbell Graham, who found Taane Milne, they were able to score the first try of the night.

Just four minutes later, Bulldogs fullback Nick Meaney made a costly error in the middle of the field, with tryscoring machine Alex Johnston scoring in the corner to extend the Rabbitohs’ lead to 10 after just 18 minutes.

The pendulum started to swing the way of the Bulldogs: Bailey Biondi-Odo was injected into the game and made an immediate impact. The crafty hooker darted out of dummy half past some lazy marker defence and linked with young centre Aaron Schuopp who scored untouched.

Liam Knight and Jacob Host were forced from the field for the Rabbitohs for a HIA after a head clash.

In incredible fashion, and with only seven minutes remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs soon hit the front; Corey Allan finished a lovely backline movement and scored in the corner, then Jake Averillo slotted over the extra two points to give his side an unlikely lead.

The cellar-dwellers looked like the better team heading into the sheds, but then a brain explosion from their half Lachlan Lewis as he judo-flipped Cody Walker – heading into sheds – unnecessarily, would reduce the Bulldogs down to 12 men for the first 10 minutes of the second half as Lewis was sent to the bin.

HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12

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2nd Half

Lewis’ brain-fade soured the Bulldogs’ flawless first 40 minutes and it immediately put the underdogs on the back foot in the second half.

It only took two minutes for the Rabbitohs to pounce: Johnston scored his second try of the evening and consolidated his place on top of the NRL tryscoring list; but unfortunately, his night was done after the four-pointer after being forced from the field with a hamstring injury.

The Rabbitohs were down to one on the bench for the remaining 38 minutes, with Knight, Graham and Johnston all being ruled out for the game.

Reynolds shortly bought up his 1,800th point in the NRL through a penalty goal as the Rabbitohs extended their lead to a converted try.

Seemingly on the back-foot and nothing really happening, Bulldogs hooker Sione Katoa kicked a 40/20 to gift his side some valuable field territory. They would make no mistake in converting the field position to points, Jayden Okunbor scored in the corner after a lovely tap back from Lewis sent the flying winger over in the corner; Averillo converted out wide to make it a level game at 18-18.

The Rabbitohs regained the lead with 20 minutes to go; a lovely grubber from Walker was pounced on by Host as normal service was resumed.

Cameron Murray, who was backing up from Origin, put the game seemingly beyond doubt as the fill-in centre (for the injured Graham), cleaned up a bomb dropped by Meaney and scored. The Rabbitohs held a 10-point lead.

In a see-sawing game, the Bulldogs hit back just three minutes after: Host turned from hero to villain as he dropped the ball and gifted Biondi-Odo who scored under the posts. The Bulldogs were within four points and pushing for an unlikely victory.

In his 100th game, Mark Nicholls became an unlikely hero as he pounced on a pass and scored in the corner untouched with just five minutes remaining as the Rabbitohs held on to the two points and their place in the top four.

FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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