Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
40 hours ago
An exciting game of NRL Monday Night football saw the South Sydney Rabbitohs record their fourth straight win. It is the first time the proud Club has achieved such a feat since 1994.
Playing in front 15,562 fans at ANZ Stadium in Homebush, the Rabbitohs defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs 34-30 in golden point extra time.
The game started with all the momentum going to the Bulldogs and as a result they scored two quick tries through rookie backs Arana Taumata and Brent Crisp to send them out to a 10 nil lead. The Rabbitohs appeared to become flustered with their own game and as a result conceded a succession of penalties all in the Bulldogs own half, gifting them easy field position and allowing them out of their own danger end on each occasion.
In the 30th minute however the Rabbitohs crossed for their first try of the night through second rower David Fa'alogo bringing them back into the contest.
Considering the state of play by the Rabbitohs at this time they would have been happy going into the half time break only six points down. The Bulldogs however, showed some of the ball movement reminiscent to the Bulldogs of the 80's and moved the ball well downfield and crossed for a try to Andrew Ryan to give the Bulldogs an 18-6 lead right on the stroke of half time.
The Rabbitohs had a dreadful start to the second half when a Luke Capewell error on a simple kick return resulted in the ball jolting loose and Tim Winitana crossing for the easiest of tries.
But instead of lying down, the Rabbitohs then fought extremely hard and on the back of some good quick play-the-balls scored three tries within the space of nine minutes to lock the scores up at 24 all.
A dubious penalty for stripping the ball then gifted the Rabbitohs a two point lead from a penalty conversion and the Rabbitohs hit the front for the first time in the game.
The Bulldogs struck back when they crossed for a try in the 65th minute. A cross field kick entered the Rabbitohs in goal with neither Nathan Merritt nor Capewell grounding the ball. Bulldogs winger Heka Nanai was on the spot to place downward pressure upon the ball and a try awarded.
The successful attempt at goal by Hazem El Masri put the Bulldogs in front 30 - 26 with only 13 minutes to play.
A loose ball by the Bulldogs in the 73rd minute allowed the Rabbitohs to regain control of the ball, and some great vision by John Sutton saw that the Bulldogs were skinny in defence out wide. He subsequently grubbered into the Bulldogs in goal area where Fetuli Talanoa touched down inches in from the sideline to lock the scores up at 30 all.
A difficult conversion attempt from Chris Sandow sailed wide. Both teams then scampered for field position and attempted one shot each at the match winning field goal.
In the 79th minute a South Sydney error in their own half gave the Bulldogs the scrum feed with approximately 30 seconds left on the clock. What happened next is hard to fathom. The ball was passed from the half back to Ben Roberts who grubber kicked through with his outside chasers not appearing to know what play he had in mind, and not going for a last second match winning field goal attempt. The ball was safely defused by the Rabbitohs and the game was forced into extra time.
The first period of golden point extra time went without incident with only the Rabbitohs' Chris Sandow having a difficult shot at field goal. The second period started with a match-ending error from the Bulldogs. Crisp caught the kick off on the full and then passed inside to Jarred Hickey, who knocked the ball directly in front of their own goal posts.
From the ensuing scrum and several settling plays by the Rabbitohs Isaac Luke darted down the short side where two passes later Capewell found himself in the clear and dived over to score the match winning try.
Match Details South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 def Canterbury Bulldogs 30 Round 17 - July 7th, 2008 7:00pm Venue: ANZ Stadium, Homebush Referee: Jason Robinson half time: Bulldogs 18-6 Crowd: 15,562
Canterbury Bulldogs 30 Tries: Arana Taumata, Brent Crisp, Andrew Ryan, Tim Winitana, Heka Nanai Goals: Hazem El Masri (5/6) South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 Tries: David Fa'alogo, Luke Capewell (2), Craig Wing, Chris Sandow, Fetuli Talanoa Goals: Issac Luke (1/1), Chris Sandow (4/5)
BULLDOGS: 1. Brent Crisp 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Daryl Millard 4. Tim Winitana 5. Heka Nanai 6. Arana Taumata 7. Ben Roberts 8. Jarrad Hickey 9. Corey Hughes 10. Fred Briggs 11. Sonny Bill Williams 12. Andrew Ryan (c) 13. Reni Maitua Interchange: 14. Lee Te Maari 15. Brad Morrin 16. John Kite 17. Aaron Groom RABBITOHS: 1. Luke Capewell 2. Nathan Merritt 3. Jamie Simpson 4. Beau Champion 5. Fetuli Talanoa 6. Craig Wing 7. Chris Sandow 8. Scott Geddes 9. Issac Luke 10. Roy Asotasi (C) 11. Luke Stuart 12. David Fa'alogo 13. John Sutton Interchange: 14. Beau Falloon 15. Shannan McPherson 16. Manase Manuokafoa 17. Michael Greenfield; Reserves: 18. David Kidwell
1st min: Under way with the Bulldogs kicking off
3rd min: Both teams complete first sets of six - On 3rd tackle in own 10m Nathan MERRITT gets monstered by Sonny Bill Williams forcing a goal line drop out
5th min: PENALTY - South Sydney - Bulldogs players not back the required 10m - Kick for touch - working it out on half way mark
7th min: PENALTY - South Sydney - Offside Bulldogs - Kick for touch - full set of six for South Sydney in Bulldogs 40m
8th min: Goal Line Drop Out - Bulldogs - Craig Wing kick into in goal fullback Crisp not able to get out of in goal area
10th min: Six more tackles for Souths - forcing another goal line drop out after a Sandow grubber kick into the in goal line with El Masri taking it dead
11th min: Buldogs defence holds on - now working it out of their own half
12th min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Backline movement by Bulldogs in own half to Taumata - Right foot step past John Sutton and runs 60m to score Conversion attempt by successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0 Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
15th min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Bulldogs make huge metres from th re-start and get to 5th tackle and put a bomb up - CRISP leaps high above Rabbitohs fullback CAPEWELL and scores underneath the posts Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri unsuccessful. Canterbury Bulldogs 10-0
16th min: Rabbitohs kick-off goes dead after some confusion from Bulldogs players - Goal line drop out Bulldogs
18th min: PENALTY - Bulldogs - Kick for touch - Working it out from own 35m mark.
19th min: Bulldogs winger NANAI drops ball with the line wide open - Try squandered - Scrum with South Sydney feed in own 10m
21st min: PENALTY - Bulldogs - Souths complete set of six with a good kick to Bulldogs goal line but TALANOA rakes the ball out with two in the tackle. Kick for touch. Working it out from Bulldogs 25m
25th min: PENALTY - South Sydney on goal line - Kick for touch - Working it out from own 25m
25th min: Lost ball by Rabbitohs on half way line
26th min: PENALTY - Bulldogs - Kick for touch inside Rabbitohs half
27th min: Same long cut out pass to NANAI who takes it this time but crunched into touch by Nathan MERRITT - Rabbitohs scrum feed on own 10m
28th min: Lost ball by Brad MORRIN in crunching tackle by Luke STUART - Rabbitohs scrum feed on Bulldogs 35m
30th min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Two passes wide from SANDOW and WING hit David FA'ALOGO on the chest, charging onto the ball and over the line Conversion attempt by Issac Luke successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 10-6
32nd min: PENALTY - South Sydney - Raked ball with two in the tackle on half way line - Kick for touch well inside Bulldogs half
33rd min: PENALTY - Bulldogs - Rabbitohs off side - 3rd penalty conceded by the Rabbitohs inside the Bulldogs 30m making it easy for the Bulldogs to get out of the danger zone
35th min: Lucky break for the Rabbitohs - On last tackle the Ben ROGERS bomb hits the upright and cross bar on way down and falls into Luke STUART's hands.
36th min: PENALTY - Bulldogs - Once again the Rabbitohs give away a penalty whilst the Bulldogs are working it out of their own half.
36th min: PENALTY - Bulldogs - Another penalty to the Dogs due to bad discipline from Rabbitohs - Hands on the ball causing the Bulldogs player to lose control of the ball only 4m out from the tryline.
37th min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs Easy conversion puts the Bulldogs lead out to a converted try just shy of half time Canterbury Bulldogs 12-6
40th min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Bit of razzle dazzle from the Bulldogs takes them well down field with several consecutive passes ending up with Andrew RYAN crossing the line Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 18-6
41st min: South Sydney get us under way in the 2nd half
42nd min: Bulldogs go 70m on attack put a bomb on last tackle and Rabbitohs fullback - Luke CAPEWELL knocks on gifting the Bulldogs another set of six on Rabbitohs 10m
43rd min: NO TRY - PENALTY - South Sydney - Kick for touch - Rabbitohs working it out on on own 20m
45th min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Corey HUGHES kicks downfield on last tackle - Picked up by Luke CAPEWELL who takes it to the line and has the ball jolted loose - Picked up by Andrew RYAN who passes it off to Tim WINITANA who strolls across untouched for the easiest of tries. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 24-6
49th min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs From inside their own half the Rabbitohs throw it two passes wide to Craig WING who does a run-around move and calves through the Bulldogs defensive line - Runs to the Bulldogs 25m then offloads to Luke CAPEWELL in support who crosses out wide. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 24-12
51st min: Rabbitohs have all the momentum all of a sudden and go the length of the field but Beau CHAMPION held up over the line
51st min: PENALTY - South Sydney - Bulldogs off side from cross field kick - Full set of six inside Bulldogs 10m
52nd min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs A nice dummy and hitting the line at speed by Craig WING and takes Ben ROBERTS over the line. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 24-18
57th min: Turnover by Bulldogs inside own 40m - Rabbitohs on the attack with all the momentum
58th min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs 4th tackle Chris SANDOW takes the pass from dummy half and turns on a massive left foot step to totally bemuse big Jarred HICKEY - SANDOW goes straight over and underneath the posts Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful. 24 all
61st min: PENALTY - Rabbitohs - Dubious penalty given to the Rabbitohs - Sonny Bill WILIAMS spoken to and cautioned. Tempers heating up here.
63rd min: PENALTY GOAL South Sydney Rabbitohs Incorrect call from referee awards penalty to Souths who duly convert from 30m out, directly in front. South Sydney Rabbitohs 26-24
63rd min: Bulldogs get ball from ordinary kick off. Attacking just outside Rabbitohs try line.
64th min: Easy put down (knock on) by Bulldogs (TAUMATA) - Pressure off - Rabbitohs working it out of own half.
65th min: Bulldogs charge down a last tackle Rabbitohs kick on half way - Rabbitohs Nathan MERRITT then knocks on in his attempted recovery - Bulldogs ball on half way.
65th min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Last tackle grubber kick into the Rabbitohs in goal area not covered up by both CAPEWELL and MERRITT and NANAI puts downward pressure on rolling ball to score the try to put the Dogs back in front. Great conversion by EL MASRI from the sideline. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 30-26
70th min: Both teams just trading sets of six - Bulldogs kick for touch on the end of their set - Ball goes out 10m out from South Sydney line. Rabbitohs feed.
71st min: 40/20 kick from South Sydney - SANDOW - Ball goes out on Bulldogs 10m line. The rain has just started belting down at Homebush. Ball handling could be crucial in the last 10 minutes.
72nd min: Bulldogs defence holds on - PENALTY - Bulldogs - Flop by Rabbitohs - Kick for touch
74th min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Great vision by John SUTTON - places a grubber kick along the ground out wide for TALANOA into the Bulldogs in goal where he dives on the ball scoring and levelling te game - Difficult kick for goal from right on the sideline, only inches in the field of play. Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow unsuccessful. 30 all
76th min: Chris SANDOW attempts another 40/20 - Misses by a few metres but also nearly out on the full. Bulldogs scrum feed on own 25m
77th min: Bulldogs couldn't get into good field goal position so just a last tackle kick - Rabbitohs ball in own 20m
78th min: Rabbitohs can't get into field goal position either - Last tackle kick - Bulldogs ball in own half - working it out to Rabbitohs 40m
78th min: Long range field goal attempt from Bulldogs - UNSUCCESSFUL. rabbitohs ball
79th min: Rabbitohs (LUKE) lose ball in crunching tackle by Andrew RYAN on Rabbitohs 30m. Full set of six to work for field goal - Scrum - Bulldogs feed.
80th min: On 1st tackle Ben ROBERTS grubber kicks through for chasers - Don't worry about a field goal attempt - Ball retrieved by Rabbitohs.
8th min: FULL TIME - Match even - Golden Point coming up.
80th min: Rabbitohs win the toss and elect to receive the ball first
81st min: Luke CAPEWELL catches the kick off right adjacent to the sideline, only has to put his right foot about 4 inches to receive a penalty. Rabbitohs working the ball out of own end.
82nd min: Bulldogs (BRIGGS) drops an ordinary pass from dummy half (HUGHES) just inside their own half. Rabitohs scrum feed in Bulldogs half.
83rd min: Drop Goal attempt by Chris SANDOW on 3rd tackle 35m out - UNSUCESSFUL
84th min: Bulldogs don't get to a field goal attempt and turn ball over on Rabbitohs 30m
85th min: Bulldogs have 3 tackles left and 15 seconds on clock and on Rabbitohs 40m - Instead of going for a field goal they take an extra play and get tackled - Player not able to get back to his eet to play the ball in time - HALF TIME/GOLDEN POINT
86th min: Second period of Golden Point under way with Souths kicking off
86th min: kick off taken by Brent CRISP - Offloads to Jarred HICKEY who wasn't expecting it and DROPS the ball 10m out from Bulldogs line - Knock on - Scrum - Rabbitohs feed.
87th min: Possible TRY to Rabbitohs - Video referee decision pending - Looks good. Sould be game over
87th min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs Thanks to the Bulldogs mistake the Rabbitohs go the short side after a few rucks - 2nd man play and good hands from Craig WING the ball goes out to Luke CAPEWELL who scores in the corner - GAME OVER - Another miraculous comeback from the Rabbitohs. Conversion attempt by successful. South Sydney Rabbitohs 36-30