Rabbitohs shine in Charity Shield

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have reclaimed the Charity Shield after braving the elements to convincingly defeat the St George Illawarra Dragons by 30-6 at Aussie Stadium tonight.

Thunder, lightning and buckets of rain didn't deter over 20,000 people who were on hand to see Souths play some sparkling wet weather football.

With their forwards dominating possession in the first half, the Rabbitohs raced away to a 12-nil lead following tries to winger Roy Bell and forward David Fa'alogo. Both tries coming off the boot of half back Joe Williams.

The second half saw much of the same with forward Peter Cusack crashing over in the 45th minute and at 18-0, Souths looked to be in control.

Saints did stage something of a comeback when utility back Ben Hornby combined with front rower Luke Bailey to see Saints get within 12. But Souths were not to be denied, adding another two tries to comprehensively defeat their more fancied rivals.

Last year's wooden spooners, the Rabbitohs gave their fans plenty to cheer about, winning the match five tries to one and providing something to look forward to in 2005.

Aussie Stadium Crowd: 20,481 Referees: Tony Archer & Gavin Badger

Scorers: Dragons 6 Tries: Bailey Goals: Gorrell 1/1 Rabbitohs 30 Tries: Bell, Fa'alogo, Cusack, MacDougall, Kearney Goals: Williams 3/5, Bell 2/2

By the clock: PRE-MATCH: Bucketing down with rain in Sydney with thunder and lightning, but a huge crowd on hand to watch Saints take on Souths in the 22nd Charity Shield.

The rain has stopped and its kick off!

1 min: NEWS - Centre Matt Cooper (Dragons) is down injured following a clash heads.

3 min: NO TRY - Colin Best crosses to 'score' for the Dragons after intercepting, but is deemed to have knocked on. NEWS - Mattt Cooper is off for treatment with suspected broken nose. Dragons winger Nick Youngquest moves into the centres.

6 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Winger Roy Bell scores in the corner after Joe Williams kicks grubbers through. Follows a repeat set. Williams conversion attempt is a shocker. Rabbitohs 4-0

14 min: NEWS - Souths will get a repeat set after Saints force the ball dead. The feature of the match so far has been the enthusiasm from South Sydney. They're getting plenty of ball and putting on some great attacking play in greasy conditions.

20 min: PENALTY GOAL - Rabbitohs. Williams from almost in front. Saints caught offside and the view here is that the 4 points were on offer. Rabbitohs 6-0

25 min: NEWS - From the Dragons' sheds. Matt Cooper confirmed as having a broken nose and will take no further part.

27 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. David Fa'alogo [pictured] is there pick up a loose ball following a Joe Williams' short kick. Williams from in almost in front hits the uprights and misses conversion. Rabbitohs 10-0

NEWS - New trial of interchange referee. Gavin Badger comes on for Tony Archer.

29 min: NEWS - Souths turn down a penalty shot from right in front and go for the try, but lose the ball soon after. Rain is back and a light drizzle.

38 min: PENALTY GOAL - Rabbitohs. Bell makes no mistake from right in front. Souths will go to the break with a handy lead. Rabbitohs 12-0

HALF TIME: Rabbitohs 12-0 Souths looking very good around the middle of the ruck as their forwards are dominating. David Fa'alogo and captain Bryan Fletcher doing their bit while Joe Williams and John Sutton are creating opportunities in the halves. Saints are having trouble matching the enthuiasm of the Rabbitohs. Newcomer Brett Kelly looking the goods in the centres. Saints have scrambled well in defence but in simple terms, they need more ball if they're to be a chance. And in that, they need a few of the forwards to start rolling up the sleeves. Overall, Souths were too good in the first half, enjoying 62% possession and helped along by a lop-sided 7-0 penalty count.

Second half underway...

45 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Peter Cusack punches his way through to score next to the posts. Conversion Bell from in front. Rabbitohs 18-0

NEWS - Half back Mathew Head (Dragons) to take no further part with hamstring injury. Aaron Gorrell moves to half back.

50 min: NEWS - Saints get their first penalty. Sutton (Rabbitohs) leaves the field, limping.

55 min: TRY - Dragons. Front rower Luke Bailey crashes over the top of Roy Bell to score in good position. Follows bust from Ben Hornby. Conversion Gorrell. Rabbitohs 18-6

59 min: NEWS - Roy Bell (Souths) coming from the field with cramp. News from the sheds is that his team mate John Sutton has a calf injury. Meanwhile Dragons' Shaun Timmins makes a big break but a good chance goes begging when Clint Greenshields is unable to take the pass.

64 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Luke MacDougall survives video ref scrutiny and is deemed to have grounded the ball over the line. MacDougall powering over after the Dragons' defence drops off. Conversion 15m in from touch from Williams is OK. Rabbitohs 24-6

70 min: NEWS - Saints starting to gain a little momentum with Ben Hornby setting up play. Saints getting repeat sets but the Souths' line is holding firm. Rain still falling.

77 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Brett Kearney crashes over out wide. Joe Williams puts the icing the cake with ripper of conversion not far in from touch and in the rain. Rabbitohs 30-6

FULL TIME SUMMARY: Rabbitohs 30-6 It might have only been a trial but Souths had the intensity that their opposition lacked. Running harder and tackling harder again, the Rabbitohs have won their sixth Charity Shield in convincing style. With all the forwards doing the job, it's difficult to pick out their best with Heggarty, Cusack, Fletcher, Fa'alogo all starring while Sutton, Williams and Bell were the pick of the backs. As for the Dragons, if they had a game plan, it wasn't all that evident.

----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - J Williams (Rabbitohs) 2 - D Fa'alogo (Rabbitohs) 1 - J Sutton (Rabbitohs) -----------------------------------------