The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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A good old fashioned mud bath at the SCG finally went in favour of the Dragons by 18-16 over the Rabbitohs.
An early lead to the Dragons to be ahead after 12 minutes by 12-0 had a lot of people wondering if the game was going to be a one sided affair. More so when shortly after the Rabbitohs halfback Peters, had to leave the field with concussion and a suspected broken nose in an unfortunate tackle.
This seemed to spur the Souths side and for most of the half, the Rabbitohs had the weight of possession and went into the break leading 16-12, after 3 unanswered tries.
The warning signs were out for the Dragons, and for most of the second half it was a real slog in the mud for both sides with either great defence stopping the players in their tracks or the slippery conditions making their presence known.
Dean Byrne (pictured) coming into the side for the Dragons showed he had a great kicking game and when Firman broke the defensive line in the 61st min, Byrne also showed he has great speed and scored what was to be the match winning try.
A video ref call for Souths near the end of the game went back to ref Harrigan who did not award the try which could've put the Rabbitohs in the lead. The Dragons managing to hold out until the final whistle in what ended up to be a very close match.
LeagueUnlimited players of the match:
3 - L Bailey (Dragons) 2 - D Byrne (Dragons) 1 - B Fletcher (Rabbitohs)
Scorers: RABBITOHS 16 Tries: Craigie x2, Fletcher Goals: Craigie (2/3) defeated by DRAGONS 18 Tries: Cooper, Roberts, Byrne Goals: Riddell (3/3)
By the clock:
Another wet NRL game in Round 11.
4th min: TRY - Cooper for Dragons. Saints prefering not to take a gift 2 points resulting from a penalty, chose to run the ball. Set up perfectly, Dean Byrne put a great chip through for Cooper to score. Riddell from close to the touchline, gets the conversion. Dragons 6-0
10th min: NEWS - Absolutely horrible playing surface for the teams with water all over the field. Obvious errors resulting from the conditions by both sides.
12th min: TRY - Roberts for Dragons. Brilliant play by the Dragons in the wet weather. A burst through the line by Byrne who was ankle tapped by Craigie but quick plays set up Roberts out wide. Riddell has no problem adding 2 points. Dragons 12-0
16th min: NEWS - Peters (Rabbitohs) gone off with a suspected broken nose after nearly scoring, just knocking on. Penalty resulting from him being held back in the play
17th min: TRY - Craigie for Rabbitohs. Resulting from the Peters penalty, Craigie had no trouble getting across the line. Craigie misses the conversion. Dragons 12-4
21st min: NEWS - The Dragons having the weight of possession, some brilliant play by Byrne, filling in for the injured Barrett. Unfortunately slippery conditions dictacting things at the moment
30th min: NEWS - The Dragons unlucky to score after a death pass in goal by one of the Rabbitohs, a knock on by Roberts. Rabbitohs now have all their bench on the field. Score still lead 12-4
32nd min: TRY - Craigie for Rabbitohs. A comedy of errors leads to Craie scoring. Roberts knocks the ball out of the Souths attacker across the line, it goes backwards, a knee from Harrison does not force the ball, but Craigie comes in after and just gets his hand to the ball. Converted by Craigie who has all the Rabbitohs points so far. Dragons 12-10
35th min: TRY - Fletcher for Rabbitohs. Go forward by Souths to get close to the line. Fletch, acting at dummy half, gets a clean run to the line right under the posts. Craigie gets an easy kick. Rabbitohs 16-12
HALF TIME: Souths have stepped up as have their supporters. A great 2nd half ahead for sure. Dragons have made double the errors at 10-4. Penalties awarded are 3 a piece. Line breaks and offloads 3-2 in Souths favour. Completion rates 18/22 for Souths, 12/22 for Dragons. Fletcher leads the tackle count for the Rabbitohs with 23, Thompson leads the Dragons count with 17
44th min: NEWS - Byrne (Dragons) puts a great kick through for his backs close to their line, just knocked on at the last.
50th min: NEWS - Some hard yards being put in by both sides, but with no luck on the scoreboard. Score stays the same as halftime. Rabbitohs 16-12
58th min: NEWS - Solid attack by the Dragons but Souths matching them in defence. A mud bath at the SCG is not helping ball control. Score remains the same
61st min: TRY - Byrne for Dragons. A break by Firman straight up through the middle of the ruck at their 30 metre line, and the youngster Byrne is right there in support and sprints to score under the posts. Riddell, from right in front adds the extra. Dragons 18-16
70th min: NEWS - 10 minutes to go and the game really is anyone's. A lot of chances on both sides have been either foiled by the defence or by the horribly muddy conditions. The Dragons are hanging on to their slender lead.
73rd min: NEWS - A dropped ball by the Dragons defence right near the posts, and the Rabbitohs swarm to get the try. Fletcher looked to be held up over the line, the video ref throws it back to Harrigan who penalised Fletcher for a double movement. Fletcher disputes the call. Dragons still have the lead with 5 mins to go
78th min: NEWS - Rabbitohs with back to back penalties, (the second Saints marched 10 metres for back chat), make a lot of ground, but very unlucky to get through the defence. Desperation football at its best
FULL TIME: The Dragons hold on to their narrow lead to win