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Sydney Roosters 28 v South Sydney Rabbitohs 26
at Aussie Stadium
Referees: Shayne Hayne
A depleted Sydney Roosters outfit have accounted for the South Sydney Rabbitohs by 28-26 in a close and exciting contest at Aussie Stadium.
With several players missing from their line-up through a mixture of injuries and representative duties, the Roosters displayed their guile to outwit the Bunnies who have slumped to their 10th loss of the season in as many starts.
Surprisingly it was Souths who opened the scoring in the 5th minute through Nathan Merritt when centre Adam MacDougall showed his class to get the ball out wide with some quick hands. The skinny winger still had plenty of work to do though, chipping over the top and regathering to score a memorable try.
The Roosters hit back in the 13th minute through Amos Roberts who ran well off a flick pass from Ashley Harrison to score. With a try to Soliola five minutes later and the ensuing conversions, the Roosters took a comfortable 12-4 lead and they were cruising towards halftime.
But fiery centre Adam MacDougall burst his way across the stripe with a determined solo effort just before the break and the Rabbitohs were very much in the game at 12-10 when they went to the sheds.
This feeling was short lived for the Bunnies though when John Doyle crossed from dummy half early in the second half to extend their lead. Further tries to opportunistic winger Vince Mellars and young firebrand David Shillington added to the misery of Souths fans as the Roosters opened up a commanding 28-10 lead.
As we?ve seen a few times this season though, Souths made a late charge to come firmly back into the reckoning, with goal-kicking letting them down at crucial periods.
Ben Rogers scored off a neat John Sutton grubber in the 65th minute, before Joe Williams went himself five minutes later to bring to gap to 28-20. The final 10 minutes of play kept people on the edge of their seats but Souths squandered several opportunities to frustrate their fans before Kiwi representative David Fa?alogo bagged a late consolation try to take the score within two points.
The Roosters can take some heart out of the victory given their circumstances but letting the Rabbitohs in towards the end of the game was a worrying sign. They take on the Eels at Parramatta Stadium Sunday whilst the Bunnies continue to search for their first win of the year. They play Wests Tigers at Homebush who will be keen to make amends for their loss against the Warriors.
Sydney Roosters: 28
Tries: Amos Roberts, Iosia Soliola, John Doyle, David Shillington, Vince Mellars
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 4/5
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 26
Tries: David Fa'alogo, Adam MacDougall, Joe Williams, Nathan Merritt, Ben Rogers
Goals: Joe Williams 3/5
By the Clock:
Good conditions here at Aussie Stadium. There are plenty of team changes for both sides.
Souths: Minichiello in for Webb who is injured. Shannon McPherson finds himself on the bench.
Roosters: Soward into the starting side with Doyle dropping to the bench.
The Roosters kick-off in the first half.
5 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Quick hands from Adam MacDougall finds winger Nathan Merritt who chips over the top, regathers and beats Amos Roberts to the ball to post the first try of the match. Joe Williams misses the goal from out wide.
10 min: NEWS An open contest at the moment with both teams making solid in-roads.
13 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
The Roosters spread the ball well with Harrison, lurking out wide, flicking the ball to Roberts for the Roosters' first try. Fitzgibbon adds the extras and the Chooks are in front.
15 min: NEWS Some bad luck with the restart after Souths put it too deep and incur a 50m penalty.
18 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Roberts puts in a cheeky little kick and finds Soliola out wide. Fitzgibbon hits the upright, then the crossbar and somehow jags a goal from out wide.
25 min: NEWS A few mistakes and errors creeping into this game as both teams struggle for some cohesion with so many players out.
30 min: NEWS Souths are making constructive plays but letting themselves down with handling errors. The Roosters have a bit more discipline at this stage and are controlling play well when in possession.
32 min: NEWS The game is becoming pretty scrappy. Souths look to be struggling for penetration with Sutton in the centres.
35 min: NEWS John Doyle (Roosters) looks to be struggling with a knee injury.
40 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Bunnies get themselves right back in the contest when Adam MacDougall punches through the Roosters defence from 30m out to score a great solo try. Williams pots the conversion and they're right back in the contest on the halftime buzzer.
40 min: NEWS Halftime: A great late try to MacDougall has the Bunnies in this one just when it appeared as though they'd given up again. The Roosters will be pretty disappointed with that but they still have a number of big names with the capabilities to control the game. But from here the game is absolutely anyone's and it shapes as a great second half stoush.
The Rabbitohs restart play in the second period.
46 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Doyle, back on the field despite a knee injury, burrows over from dummy half. Fiztgibbon put the conversion through and the Chooks take a healthy 8-point lead.
54 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Some good hands by the Roosters finds Vince Mellars out on the wing unmarked and he crosses the line to put the Roosters back on top. Fitzgibbon fails to convert.
60 min: TRY Sydney Roosters
Big prop Dave Shillington barges his way over the chalk to take a commanding lead for the Roosters. Fitzgibbon lands the goal.
65 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
John Sutton puts through a neat grubber for Ben Rogers who scores and gets the Bunnies back into this one. Williams converts and they might give the Roosters a scare here.
70 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
Williams, who's having a great game, goes himself close to the line and scores after Sam Perrett turned over possession close to his own line. Williams fails to convert and 8 points might be too hard for the Bunnies to peg back.
75 min: NEWS The Bunnies grass a few opportunities here in the closing stages.
79 min: TRY South Sydney Rabbitohs
The Kiwi forward drives his way to the line and reaches out to score a good consolation try after Shane Rigon got out of dummy half quickly. Williams converts and it's a shame there's no more time left.
80 min: NEWS Fulltime: The Bunnies just can't quite get there as the Roosters stumble home to a 2-point victory.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Anthony Tupou
2 - Iosia Soliola
1 - Adam MacDougall