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Rabbitohs cruise past rudderless Sharks
CRONULLA'S miserable 2014 season continued at Remondis Stadium when they were held scoreless for the second time this season as South Sydney comfortably registered an 18-0 win.
It was the first time since 1999 the Rabbitohs had kept a side scoreless after they defeated the Panthers 20-0 in round 18 of that year.
Already without Origin representatives Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and the suspended Andrew Fifita the Sharks lost Fifita's brother David to a rolled ankle sustained in the warm-up while winger Sosaia Feki almost joined him on the sideline after straining his right quadricep pre-game.
But the home side were gutsy and stuck with a South Sydney side that always looked to have the game in their possession from the moment Sam Burgess crossed next to the posts for the only try of a dour first half as they took an 8-0 lead to the break.
Sharks hooker John Morris celebrated his 300th first grade game but it would go the same way as his 100th and 200th matches which also resulted in losses.
He told Triple M after the game there was no doubt it had already been a tough season for the Cronulla side.
"We just can't seem to get our strongest side on the park but hopefully we can make a charge at the back end of the year when we get some players back," he said.
Rabbitohs lock Sam Burgess conceded it wasn't a game which achieved any great heights but they would be happy to pick up an important two points.
"The last 15-20 mins were ordinary to watch I imagine, but credit to the boys for their defensive effort. Last week we didn't hold the ball and were chasing the game and we were better tonight in defence."
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Venue: Remondis Stadium
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 0 South Sydney Rabbitohs 8
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - George Burgess
2 points - Sam Burgess
1 point - Tinirau Arona
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (0)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Souths go to the northern end of Remondis Stadium as John Morris in game 300 leads the home side out.
1: We're underway through the boot of Adam Reynolds!
1: Robson has his kick charged down and the Rabbits go on the attack early.
2: Reynolds kicks to the posts and the ball bounces off the pads and into the arms of Gordon for the home side.
3: Holdsworth has his kick charged down this time!
3: The Sharks then received the ball off the rebound and the kick to the opposite corner is kicked dead from Feki. The World Cup came a few months early to Remondis.
4: Sutton goes to the air and Reddy plucks the ball off John Morris before it comes free. Sharks ball.
5: The Sharks last play option again is terrible as the ball found the ground off dummy half. Holdsworth then hurriedly put boot to ball but it sailed over the sideline on the full.
6: Reynolds kicks for Merritt, but the ball rebounds off the line into the arms of the halfback who knocks on. Sharks scrum.
8: Robson finds the ground from the kick on the last tackle and the home fans cheer their approval.
9: Reynolds goes to the air again but Gordon comes up with a good catch.
13: The arm wrestle continues as both teams feel each other out. No errors thus far.
14: The first error of the game comes from Feki 20m from his own line. Rabbits scrum.
15: Reynolds chips to the corner for Johnston and Feki makes the tackle to force the winger into touch. Sharks scrum.
16: PENALTY Sharks. The first of the night goes to the home team as Lowe takes too long to clear the ruck.
18: PENALTY Sharks. Lowe again all over the tackled player which leaves the officials with no option.
19: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Sharks try.
19: No Try. Bryce Gibbs ruled offside after Robson's kick rebounded off Korisau without him retreating the 10 metres.
20: Reynolds rushes a kick on the last which is claimed by Leutele.
20: Feki drops the ball on the first tackle and the Rabbits go on the attack.
20: TRY SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Scored by Sam Burgess. Kick to come.
Sam Burgers opens the scoring for the visitors tonight after getting one on one with Robson after Reynolds served the ball up on a platter.
22: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
Reynolds adds the extras from beside the posts.
23: Gordon has the ball stripped one on one but the officials rule the ball was propelled forward. Sharks scrum.
25: Jason Clark leaves the ball behind for the visitors. The home side to go on the attack.
26: PENALTY Sharks. Gordon is ruled to have been placed in a dangerous position by Auva'a. Replays suggest it was a tough call.
27: Referee Matt Cecchin has come up with his own ruling of a knock-on and the Rabbits have the ball.
28: Burgess comes up with the error late in the tackle count for the Rabbits. Sharks scrum.
30: Holdsworth grubbers behind the line and Merritt slides in to pick it up.
36: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Souths try.
36: No Try. Double knock on. Johnston races 100m for no reason as the officials rule he knocked on after Feki also did attempting to drag in Robson's cross-field kick. 20m restart.
37: PENALTY Rabbitohs. Merritt has the ball stolen in a two-man tackle.
38: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Penalty goal attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
Reynolds puts his side out by more than a converted try.
40: Halftime at Remondis and the Rabbits lead the Sharks 8-0.
40: We're underway for the second stanza!
42: Mistake free opening for both sides to the second half.
42: PENALTY Rabbitohs. Cronulla players foot interrupts the ruck.
43: PENALTY Rabbitohs. Roqica has his hand on the ball.
44: Quick hands from the Rabbitohs from Merritt onto Auva'a who puts the ball down.
47: Robson has his kick charged down again and the tackle count restarts.
47: PENALTY Sharks. Isaac De Gois has Walker all over him like a cheap suit.
49: Robson grubbers on the last but Sutton is back there for the Rabbits.
49: PENALTY Rabbitohs. Markers not square which is just as well for Joel Reddy who put the ball down.
50: Reynolds grubbers in behind the Sharks and Feki gets back to drop on the ball. Sharks dropout.
52: Robson races 50m after the ball rebounded off legs. The halfback then stupidly threw a hail mary pass over the top to Gordon who knocked on.
53: The Sharks win one against the feed but the referees want a re-pack.
56: TRY SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Scored by Kirisome Auva'a. Kick to come.
Kirisome Auva'a extends the lead after Dylan Walker sliced through the Sharks defence. His cause was helped by Ayshford slipping over. Walker then linked up with his other centre after drawing Gordon to send him on an unimpeded 40m dash to the line.
57: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds unsuccessful.
Reynolds pushes the conversion to the right of the sticks.
60: Double knock on after George Burgers looked like he knocked on. Referees thought otherwise. Rabbits scrum.
61: Gordon knocks on after Reynolds clever kick. Rabbitohs scrum.
63: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Rabbitohs try.
63: TRY SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Scored by Cameron McInnes. Kick to come.
McInnes dives over from dummy half to secure the win for the visitors and score his first NRL try.
64: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Conversion attempt by Adam Reynolds successful.
Reynolds makes it an 18-point margin.
65: Reynolds shows some individual brilliance to force a dropout. He went to the air before Johnston found the ball in his lap and threw a pass to Reynolds who couldn't beat Ayshford.
68: Wright tries to go around Johnston but the Souths winger grabs him and slides him across the sideline. They'll get the ball from the scrum.
69: Scrappy play from the visitors early in the tackle count sees Reddy knock the ball over the sideline.
71: Joe Picker is helped up the tunnel after copping a stray elbow from Heighington.
72: The Sharks shift the ball to the right but Gordon has the ball dislodged in the tackle from Sutton.
74: Holdsworth puts the kick into the in-goal where Merritt forces the ball. Souths dropout.
76: Robson kicks into the in-goal again before Walker is forced back. Souths dropout.
77: PENALTY Sharks. Reynolds kicks out on the full.
77: Robson kicks for Feki but Johnston is back for the Rabbits and bats the ball over the sideline. Sharks scrum.
79: Yet another dropout for the Rabbits as Robson's kick is knocked dead by Sutton.
80: Fulltime at Remondis and the Rabbits have run out 18-0 victors.