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The South Sydney Rabbitohs gave their 18,000 paid members some bang for their buck this evening at ANZ stadium in front of over 30,000 fans.
Despite the Bulldogs scoring first without Souths touching the ball, the first half belonged to the Rabbitohs, with their forwards laying the platform for the likes of Issac Luke and Chris Sandow to step over the ailing Bulldogs defenders.
Ben Hannant was absolutely huge with 21 Hit-Ups for 183 metres and 45 tackles and as a result, despite being in a well beaten side, he was the LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match tonight.
Jamal Idris and Ben Barba were really the only other players for Bulldogs to stand up, though Barba only got limited time on the field in the second half.
For the Rabbitohs, Sam Burgess had a huge game as did the likes of Luke Stuart, Roy Asotasi, Scott Geddes, Ben Lowe and Shannon McPherson. Issac Luke was Souths best player again this week looking as elusive as always, making plenty of linebreaks and causing headaches around the ruck for the outmatched Bulldogs engine room.
It was a massive shock for the Bulldogs, they made almost as many tackles in the first half of this game as they did in the entire game last week.
The Rabbitohs fans will finally be able to crow about their big off season signings and showed signs of things to come. Danger signs for the rest of the NRL clubs.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 38 defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 16
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 4 - Monday April 5, 2010 7:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Phil Haines
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Russell Turner and Henry Perenara
Halftime: South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 Canterbury Bulldogs 6
South Sydney Rabbitohs (38)
Tries: Beau Champion (2), Sam Burgess (2), Nathan Merritt, Issac Luke, Chris Sandow
Conversions: Issac Luke (3/5), Chris Sandow (2/2)
Canterbury Bulldogs (16)
Tries: Ben Roberts, Ben Barba, Bryson Goodwin
Conversions: Bryson Goodwin (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary For the Bulldogs there is just one change with Jarrad Hickey being promoted to the starting lineup and Chris Armit going to the bench. The Rabbitohs have brought Garrett Crossman onto the bench in place of Michael Crocker who was not cleared to return from injury for tonights match.
Players coming out to a huge reception from the very handy sized crowd. The kick-off was pushed back a few minutes to allow the late rush of people entering the ground from the Royal Easter Show across the road.
Hard to tell who has more fans in the crowd, a Souths home game it may be, but it won't make much of a difference here tonight.
Isaac Luke gets us underway here on Monday Night Football and Ben Hannant crashes into the line at speed.
2 min: TRY Ben Roberts
Off the back of a penalty and a six again call from the first set of six after the kick-off Ben Roberts dives over from dummy half and scores the first try without Souths even touching the ball yet.
3 min: Souths find touch from the kick off and will be on the attack 20 metres out from the Dogs line.
4 min: TRY
Beau Champion scores from the scrum win going through a hole thanks to a good short ball from John Sutton. Instant hit back from Souths here. Exciting start to the game.
5 min: Jarrad Hickey has been taken from the field early in this contest after coughing up blood on the back of a back slam received in the first set of six. Doesn't look good for the big man.
6 min: TRY
Chris Sandow scores after a cross field kick from John Sutton was batted back from Nathan Merritt into the arms of Beau Champion who passes to an unmarked Sandow. Replays indicate the ball may have popped out of Champion's hands forward into the back of Bryson Goodwin but the referees say it's a try.
13 min: A good hit by Ben Lowe and Sam Burgess forces the ball loose in an attacking position.
13 min: Good news for Bulldogs fans, Jarrad Hickey doesn't have any serious concerns, apparently he has simply bit his tongue, so expect him to be back sooner or later.
14 min: Blake Green drops it cold around halfway as the Bulldogs were looking to mount some kind of counter attack.
17 min: Rhys does similar to Blake Green.
18 min: Brett Kimmorley is hit high but the refs play on as he grubbers into the Rabbitohs in goal and tackles Merritt over the dead ball line. Good work from Noddy there.
21 min: A Ben Roberts grubber forces Nathan Merritt to knock the ball dead. The Rabbitohs showing some solid defense under pressure here. The Dogs still on the attack.
22 min: Beau Champion and Nathan Merritt tackle Josh Morris over the sideline. Sensational defense from the Rabbitohs there.
23 min: TRY
Nathan Merrit scores in the corner. Amazing stuff there. Isaac Luke caught some defenders napping around the ruck and took off like lightning finding Rhys Wesser in support who was brilliantly tackled by Steve Turner. From the ensuing play the Rabbitohs spread it wide to the right and with good touches by Sandow, Burgess and Sutton among others, they find Merritt out wide who goes over in the corner.
26 min: A thoughtless kick from Chris Sandow relieves some pressure as Patten takes it on the full in the in goal.
27 min: Some great work from the Rabbitohs finds Colin Best screaming off downfield. The Bulldogs give away a penalty to buy some time.
29 min: TRY
Sam Burgess crashes over out wide after soft defense from the Bulldogs. The speed of the ruck is killing the Bulldogs. The Rabbitohs are getting over the advantage line and getting off quick play the balls and the Rabbitohs small men are finding too much room. The Rabbitohs are in hot form so far tonight. Everyone is having a blinder.
33 min: TRY
Issac Luke drops the ball but a delayed call from the referee sees Michael Ennis penalised for a strip. From the ensuing tap the Rabbitohs score through Sam Burgess, who picks up a double simply pushing a defender over on his way through. This is looking bad for the Bulldogs.
36 min: Michael Ennis concedes another penalty this time for a leg pull. Rabbitohs will go deep onto the attack again.
37 min: Ben Lowe puts it down and the Bulldogs finally get a reprieve.
37 min: Brett Kimmorley puts it down after Ben Hannant finds some space. Replays suggest Sam Burgess may have knocked it back but its a Souths feed nonetheless.
40 min: A last minute sideline raid from Josh Morris is covered as Chris Sandow knocks it dead and the Rabbitohs go into half-time leading 26-6. The Rabbitohs forwards are just punishing the Bulldogs here at ANZ.
40 min: Apparently Hickey didn't just bite his tongue. He's off to hospital.
40 min: Shannon McPherson knocks it on cold off the kick off but the referee calls it a knock back. Hmm.
42 min: Dogs start off the second half with a kick out on the full from Ben Roberts.
42 min: Issac Luke gets through only for his last pass to an unmarked Nathan Merritt to go forward.
45 min: Dogs put it down while on the attack and Issac Luke comes up with it. Ben 'X - Factor' Barba is coming onto the field now.
47 min: Dogs showing some enterprising play but another drop ball ruins it all.
49 min: Some tough defense from the Bulldogs all of a sudden. Maybe they finally turned up. Great pressure catch in the ingoal from Luke Patten.
50 min: The Rabbitohs are nowhere near back to the Refs mark at the moment. No whistle though.
52 min: Ben Hannant is bleeding profusely. Nice look Benny.
53 min: Ben Hannant forced from the field for a second blood bin.
56 min: Luke Patten drops a speculator from Kimmorley.
56 min: TRY
Rhys Wesser makes a break, finds support but Idris makes a try-saver but the sweeping movement to the left from the play the ball finds Issac Luke out wide who crashes over.
62 min: John Sutton drops it trying to kick. It looked pretty funny.
63 min: TRY
Ben Barba puts a try on a platter for Bryson Goodwin. He's a talent Barba, that's for sure.
63 min: Massive crowd of 30,120.
67 min: John Sutton does extremely well to save a try as Idris takes off down the right. Sutton the only man in cover forces Idris to pass inside but Sutton knocks it backwards and then regathers.
71 min: TRY
Ben Barba scores after picking up a loose ball. Video ref is called in. Ennis chooses to wrong option going to Andrew Ryan with a short ball but Ryan juggles it backwards onto the ground and Barba picks it up and scoots into a gap to score.
74 min: Bad call there from the referee, Ben Barba knocks the ball free and in the process Rhys Wesser knocked it forward but the ref gives the feed to Souths.
74 min: I think Ben Barba needs to start for the Bulldogs next week. He has been immense but only came on in the second half.
76 min: Michael Ennis compounds a shocking game with a drop ball and then gets up mouthing off at big Dave Taylor who did NOT look impressed at what was said.
77 min: The excitement machine Ben Barba goes close to snatching an intercept pass and he would have been in under the black dot. He is something else this kid.
79 min: TRY
Beau Champion takes an intercept from a Kimmorley pass and walks in under the black dot.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 38-16
80 min: Huge performance from the Rabbitohs here. The Dogs just couldn't come back from the huge first half from the Rabbitohs forwards. Ben Hannant was immense tonight. In a well beaten side he was almost the best on the park. Sam Burgess really showed what he is capable of as well.