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The St George Illawarra Dragons have proven too classy for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, claiming their first Charity Shield since 2007 with a 32-10 victory at ANZ Stadium.
In what was essentially their first pre-season trial, the Dragons controlled the game comfortably from start to finish against a Souths side that lacked starch in defence.
Rookie Jack Bosden proved the unexpected highlight, the aggressive prop put in a barnstorming display which included a four-pointer and try assist. Bosden claimed LeagueUnlimited's Man of Match Award.
Following the late withdrawal of Ben Hornby, regular custodian Darius Boyd spent the majority of the evening at five-eighth and handled the added ball playing responsibility with aplomb.
Souths struggled to match the Dragons up front, although their forward stocks were depleted with the likes of Sam Burgess, Luke Stuart, Dave Taylor and Issac Luke sitting on the sidelines.
It was the Rabbitohs who opened the scoring through Kane Morgan, before the Dragons clicked into gear when Bosden provided a crashing run to set up Bronx Goodwin.
Bosden then charged over himself and a slick change of direction saw Goodwin grab his double in the 36th minute, giving St George Illawarra a 18-4 lead at the break.
Centre Dylan Farrell gave Souths a sniff with a flying leap in the early stages of the second half but the Dragons regained momentum thanks to Boyd and Pene Tagive, who both crashed over in opposite corners.
A try to former Bunny Michael Greenfield put the icing on the cake in the 72nd minute.
Fortunately, there were no major injuries to report from ANZ Stadium. Dragons' Ben Creagh suffered a poke to the eye but returned to the field in the second half.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 were defeated by St George Illawarra Dragons 32
Charity Shield - Charity Shield - Sunday February 13, 2011 7:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Tony Archer and Jared Maxwell
Touch Judges: Russell Turner and David Abood
Halftime: South Sydney Rabbitohs 4 St George Illawarra Dragons 18
South Sydney Rabbitohs (10)
Tries: Dylan Farrell, Kane Morgan
Conversions: Chris Sandow (1/2)
St George Illawarra Dragons (32)
Tries: Darius Boyd, Michael Greenfield, Peni Tagive, Bronx Goodwin (2), Jack Bosden
Conversions: Bronx Goodwin (4/5), Cameron King (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to this evening's coverage of the Charity Shield from ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Souths have the wood on St George over the past few seasons in this fixture but on paper look to be underdogs tonight - the likes of Sam Burgess, Greg Inglis, Issac Luke, Luke Stuart and Nathan Merritt are all on the sideline.
In contrast the Dragons are fairly close to full strength, with Jamie Soward, Brett Morris and Dean Young the notable absentees.
Plenty to look forward to though! Particularly exciting is the return of a bigger and stronger Mark Gasnier.
In late team changes: Ben Hornby and Beau Scott out for St George, Darius Boyd moves to five-eighth
1 min: We have a kick off! Dragons recieve the ball.
5 min: Aggressive start from both sides, looks like they're enjoying playing as much as I'm enjoying watching, First penalty to Souths puts them on the attack.
6 min: TRY
Souths Sydney TRY
Chris Sandow drifts towards the line before throwing a great looping cut out pass to Kane Morgan who dots down in the corner. Sandow fails to convert.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 4-0
9 min: John Sutton attempts a short pass but it doesn't quite find Wesser on the chest and he knocks on.
10 min: Ben Creagh down in backfield with what appears to be a poke in the eye, nothing too severe.
11 min: Rhys Wesser gets smashed by Boyd, who is defending in the frontline tonight - he lets out a "woo" with a massive grin on his face.
15 min: John Sutton chips for the corner post, Vai Vai flies high but knocks it foward.
17 min: TRY
St George Illawarra TRY
Jake Bosden steamrolls over some poor Souths defence up the middle, draws the fullback and puts Bronx Goodwin under the posts. Goodwin converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 6-4
20 min: Matt Prior with another simple error, that's his second already this evening.
21 min: It's Wesser v Boyd II! And the Dragons number one comes up trumps again, slamming Wesser into the ground and forcing a knock on.
22 min: Roy Asotasi offloads it forward, Chris Sandow picks it up and races away but the referees won't be fooled - definite knock on.
24 min: Sandow with a MASSIVE shoulder charge on Fien, luckily for Fien, Sandow isn't that big.
26 min: Cameron King pokes his nose through the line but play breaks down - he looks a talent though.
29 min: John Sutton steps through the ruck untouch but is nabbed by Goodwin, before Ben Lowe of all people gets a kick away.
30 min: Darius Boyd sneaks down the short side and forces a repeat set with a chip.
31 min: Video referee - possible Dragons try.. the first potential double movement call of 2011!
31 min: TRY
St George Illawarra TRY
Big prop Jack Bosden surges close to the line and reaches out to score. He's been impressive, set up their first try and now scores their second. Goodwin converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 12-4
35 min: Dragons really clicking into gear now, going the length of the field and then forcing a goal line dropout.
36 min: TRY
St George Illwarra TRY
Great ball playing from the Premiers! Fien drifts wide but then turns it back towards the posts to Cooper who then finds Bronx Goodwin a saloon passage to the line. Goodwin converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-4
38 min: Penalty against the Dragons in possession for not playing the ball correctly - beware, the refs are cracking down this year!
40 min: Halftime: As expected, a fair few errors from both sides but the Dragons have dominated so far. Jack Bosden has proven a handful, while Goodwin has played the typical supporting fullback role.
41 min: Back underway in the shield! Hopefully the Dragons don't show the Bunnies any charity..
41 min: Adam Cuthbertson on the field now, he's lost the headgear and a few kilos as well.
45 min: TRY
Dylan Farrell leaps and claims a Sandow cross field kick to score, he was helped by Pene Tagive slipping but a good leap nonetheless. Sandow converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 18-10
48 min: Darius Boyd attempts some sort of slam dunk basketball pass but it falls into the hands of South Sydney.
49 min: Jack Bosden in the action again, this time with an error-forcing bellringer on Eddy Pettybourne.
53 min: Big shot from Pettybourne on Dragons' David Gower - what's with the Dragons and English cricketers? First Prior and now Gower..
55 min: Darius Boyd the playmaker.. this time Boyd with a pinpoint cross field bomb but Mansour saves the day for the Rabbitohs.
57 min: TRY
St George Ilawarra TRY
Now Darius Boyd the try scorer! The Dragons forwards roll upfield before Boyd gets the ball out wide, dummies and then puts the foot down to sneak over in the corner. Goodwin fails to convert.
St George Illawarra Dragons 22-10
59 min: TRY
St George Illawarra TRY
Mark Gasnier picks up a loose offload, steps to the outside, fires a cutout ball to Pene Tagive, who simply steamrolls two Souths defenders to score in the corner. Goodwin converts.
St George Illawarra Dragons 28-10
63 min: Sandow, Sutton and Asotasi on the bench now for Souths, the Dragons with too much class.
66 min: Pictures of Greg Inglis looking very drowsy on the sidelines.. as the Dragons pressure the line but Cronin can't field the pass on the wing.
70 min: Pene Tagive with a strong few touches in the past five minutes.
70 min: Crowd: 19,267
72 min: TRY
St George Illawarra TRY
Some quick hands down the blindside find Michael Greenfield, who is too big and too strong for his former club. Cameron King fails to convert.
St George Illawarra Dragons 32-10
75 min: Dragons now roll it into touch and they've controlled the second half comfortably.
79 min: No major injuries to report from ANZ Stadium, Ben Creagh suffered a poke in the eye but came back on the second half.
Fulltime: Dragons triumph for the first time in the Charity Shield since 2007, they had too much class for a less experienced Souths outfit. Bodes well for their World Cup Challenge later this month, and for Souths it's still early days in the scheme of things.