The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The St George ? Illawarra Dragons have once again notched up fifty points for the second successive week as they cruised to a 52-12 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in front of a big crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground today.
The Dragons - playing a near perfect game early on - were simply too strong, too fast and too smart as they notched up 32 unanswered points in 25 minutes.
The Rabbitohs were struggling to find any possession and territory as they struggled to catch Trent Barrett?s and Matthew Head?s blitzkrieg raid from their boots, and often struggled to tackle the Dragons bigger and faster back five.
South Sydney answered the call in the last ten minutes of the first half scoring two tries before the half time siren rang throughout the SCG.
At half time it was 32-12
The Rabbitohs put the pressure on the Dragons in the second half but came up empty handed as Saints ran in another 20 points. St George ? Illawarra went on cruise mode in the last 30 minutes skipping away to victory with four second half tries.
So what now for the Dragons? Hopefully a chance to test their strength against one of the benchmarks in the Sydney Roosters after the final Origin match.
The Rabbitohs are still hovering around the bottom of the ladder and not much hope for change before next year.
Scorers: RABBITOHS 12 Tries: Williams, Hookey Goals: Williams 2/2 defeated by DRAGONS 52 Tries: Hornby 2, Simmonds 2, Cooper 2, Gasnier, Thompson, Kite, Creagh Goals: Head 5/9, Riddell 1/1
By the clock: It's back to the future for the NRL as two of the more popular NRL sides go head to head for this Round 16 clash at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A big crowd welcomes out both sides.
0 min: Rabbitohs kick off.
4 min: Try - Dragons. The Dragons regather the ball from a bomb, Mark Riddell throws a big pass to an unmarked Mark Gasnier to score the first points of the day. Matthew Head converts. 6-0 Dragons
7 min: Try - Dragons. The Dragons put up a bomb, Gasnier batters it back into the hands of Lance Thompson to score. Heads conversion attempt goes wide. 10-0 Dragons
8 min: News - Dragons are unlucky not to have scored from another aerial raid, the bounce of the ball lets them down.
15 min: News - The Dragons are starting this game where they left off last week, The Dragons halves are putting a huge ammount of pressure with several bombs targetting South Sydneys back three.
16 min: Try - Dragons. Following a excellent break Trent Barrett throws a nothing pass to nobody, Reece Simmonds picks it up and places the ball on the chalk. Head converts. 16-0 Dragons
19 min: Try - Dragons. The Dragons spread it wide, Matthew Head throws a short pass to Brent Kite who runs through a gaping hole to score. Head converts. 22-0 Dragons
22 min: Try - Dragons. Mark Gasnier makes a break, he offloads to Trent Barrett who throws it over his head to Ben Hornby to score. Head converts. Another thrashing is on the cards! 28-0 Dragons
23 min: News - Another break by the Dragons backs, John Carlaw puts a boot to it near the line but it's far too strong.
26 min: Try - Dragons. Following a Rabbitohs error, Trent Barrett throws an offload to Ben Hornby who runs onto the ball at speed to score his second try. Heads conversion attempt goes wide. 32-0 Dragons
30 min: News - Very impressive display by the Dragons. They look dangerous every single time their back 5 run with the ball. South Sydney simply cant get any possesion and are easily shrugged off when attempting to tackle the speedy St George - Illawarra backs.
33 min: Try - Rabbitohs. South Sydney are forced to run it on the last, winger Wes Tillott offloaded the ball as Owen Craigie put a boot to it, Joe Williams whos in support bounces on the ball before it went dead. Williams converts. 32-6 Dragons
36 min: Try - Rabbitohs. Joe Williams breaks the line, he attracts in three Dragons defenders before launching a pass to Lee Hookey. Williams converts. 32-12 Dragons
38 min: News - Lance Thompson looks to have to rolled his ankle as he is assisted by the Dragons trainers off the field.
Half time: The Dragons have just eased off for the last 10 minutes of this half but it's still been a superb effort by this St George - Illawarra side most notably by their backs. South Sydney have hit back in the last 10 minutes but I cant see this ending in anything more than a cricket score. 32 - 12 St George - Illawarra are leading at the break.
Penalties: Rabbitohs 2 Dragons 3 Completions: Rabbitohs 13/16 Dragons 18/21 Mistackles: Rabbitohs 30 Dragons 7 Errors: Rabbitohs 4 Dragons 3 Possesion: Rabbitohs 44% Dragons 56%
40 min: Dragons kick off.
42 min: News - David Thompson knocks the ball on right next to the chalk.
45 min: News - John Carlaw is unlikely to be used again today as he is suffering from a strained side.
50 min: Try - Dragons. On the last tackle the Dragons spread it wide resulting in Reece Simmonds scoring in the corner. Head converts. 38-12 Dragons
54 min: News - An intercept attempt by Ben Creagh goes to ground.
59 min: Try - Dragons. Matthew Head puts in a short kick, Lincoln Withers gathers the ball and passes out wide bouncing nicely for Matthew Cooper who simply passes it to an unmarked Ben Creagh. Head's conversion attempt goes wide. 42-12 Dragons
65 min: News - A much improved effort by South Sydney in the second half but have been let down when in good territory.
66 min: News - The Dragons knock it on near the line.
71 min: Try - Dragons. Lovely work by the Dragons moving the ball out wide, Matt Cooper finishes off the play by cutting back inside ducking and weaving through several Green and Red jumpers. Head cant convert the try. 46-12 Dragons
77 min: Try - Dragons. The Dragons the line through the short side again, Lincoln Withers linked up with Matt Cooper well to notch up a half-century of points. Mark Riddell converts. 52-12 Dragons
79 min: News - Shaun Timmins puts in a chip kick, it bounces u perfectly for Lincoln Withers but he fumbles it with no body in front of him.
Full time: They shocked the Rabbitohs early and skipped to victory on cruise mode. An easy win but it still impressed most people at the historic SCG. St George - Illawarra win the match 52-12
Penalties: Rabbitohs 4 Dragons 5 Completions: Rabbitohs 22/35 Dragons 32/41 Mistackles: Rabbitohs 49 Dragons 13 Errors: Rabbitohs 14 Dragons 11 Possesion: Rabbitohs 47% Dragons 53% ------------------ Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Head (Dragons) 2 - T Barrett (Dragons) 1 - M Gasnier (Dragons) -----------------------------------------