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3 days ago
A flurry of point scoring gave the Bulldogs the chocolates with a 24-9 victory over a disappointing Rabbitohs side in front of 34,984 fans at Stadium Australia.
The contest lacked the fiery incidents of previous years, but this afternoon's game was full of intensity and skill as both sides wanted to jump into the top eight.
For the early exchanges, it was an exchange of penalty goals as both forward packs tested each other out. The big story was Kerrod Holland retaking goal-kicking duties from Moses Mbye.
It was an exhibition of the best and worst of Alex Johnston in the first half. The fullback, deputising for the injured Greg Inglis opened the scoring with a blistering effort from a nice Sam Burgess offload for 8-2.
Then there was the worst of Alex Johnston. Josh Reynolds, the ultimate competitior put in a kick for himself and chased, looking for the dropout but Johnston stalled which allowed the five-eighth to pounce to reduce it to 8-6.
Bulldogs looked much more comfortable after Des Hasler made an early change, Matthew Frawley injected for Michael Lichaa which shunted Moses Mbye to the hooker role. They looked much more crisp as Bulldogs levelled again through another penalty goal.
There was one moment of magic or madness, depending on your colours. A shift from the kick-off from Bulldogs gave Rabbitohs one chance to attack. Nothing was on but Adam Reynolds swiveled to pilot over a field goal for 9-8 at the break.
Most of the opening twenty of the second half was spent with the Rabbitohs on the attack. They weren't able to make hay though, as an obstruction ball and sloppy ball work gave the Bulldogs a reprieve.
Didn't the Bulldogs take it with aplomb. A quick five minute salvo opened up an 11-point lead for the home side. Who else but Josh Reynolds, the five-eighth angled inside to give Brenko Lee space to cushion a pass for Josh Jackson to score.
Next it was a long range effort, as Brett Morris, shaking off an ankle complaint busted up the middle before some link passes allowed Kerrod Holland to dive over in the corner. Suddenly it was 20-9 and the blue and white army was barking.
The comeback was confirmed with eight minutes to go.Frawley was pin-point with a kick for Marcelo Montoya to leap, tap back and allow Josh Morris to dive over. For Souths it was a series of unfortunate events, as simple errors stunted them at the wrong points.
Canterbury remain at ANZ for the second of five straight matches at the venue when they face the Wests Tigers next Sunday, while the Rabbitohs have their annual ANZAC weekend clash with the Broncos.