THE South Sydney Rabbitohs have come back from an early 20 point deficit to defeat the Dragons 34-24 in front of a 18,980 strong crowd.
The Dragons were clinical early in the match taking charge in the opening 20 minutes to lead by 20.
The Dragons were over again only five minutes later when
Jason Nightingale after the Dragons spread it out wide.
The home side scored their third try in the 17th minute when Matt Cooper sliced through the South Sydney defence and dove to score.
The Dragons extended their lead to 20 in the 20th when Soward added the extras after Jason Nightingale scored following a Chris McQueen knock on.
The Rabbits were over again only two minutes later when Sandow went to the air and Dylan Farrell gathered the ball to score.
The South dominated possession in the final 20 of the first half but were unable to capitalise until the 36th minute when Rhys Wesser scored in the corner after Chris Sandow cut out pass.
It was all Souths early in the second 40 as they dominated possession and field position.
Nathan Peats was the first to score a four-pointer in the half, crossing in the 47th minute after catching the Dragons' defence napping.
South claimed the lead in the 55th minute when Sandow converted Dylan Farrell's second try off the match.
The Dragons were given several opportunities to hit back in the next passage of the game but were unable to cross the try line until the 75th minute when Matt Cooper muscled his way over following 3 repeat sets.
But it was not going to be enough for the Dragons after a break up in communication saw Sandows kick off roll dead and gift Souths possession only ten meters out from the try line.
South were able to capitalise on the great field position quickly, with Farrell diving over in the corner for his trifecta with less than three minutes left in the match.
The Rabbitohs were not done yet with Nathan Merritt scoring on full time after South were giving six again 30 out from the Dragons' line. Sandow added the extras to extend the lead to ten.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24 were defeated by South Sydney Rabbitohs 34
National Rugby League - Round 21 - Sunday July 31, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Russell Smith
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Luke Potter
Halftime: St George Illawarra Dragons 20 South Sydney Rabbitohs 6
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (24)
Tries: Matt Cooper (2), Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale (2)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/5)
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (34)
Tries: Rhys Wesser, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell (3), Nathan Peats
Conversions: Chris Sandow (5/6)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good afternoon folks and welcome to Win Stadium where the defending premiers the St George Illawarra Dragons take on the struggling South Sydney Rabbitohs.
We have a beautiful day in Wollongong for what should be an exciting match between these two traditional rivals.
Both sides have announced a few late changes. For the home side, Mitch Rein is out; Kyle Stanley moves onto the bench in his place. Matt Prior is also moving to the bench with Trent Merrin starting the match at lock.
For the Bunnies Shannan McPherson is out and will be replaced by Dave Tyrrell who moves into starting side, Jason Clark shifts to the bench, for Shaune Corrigan who will start.
1 min: We have kick off!
2 min: Both sides have completed their first sets but finished them up poorly.
3 min: TRY
Mark Gasnier puts Matt Cooper into space who offloads to Brett Morris who dodges the Souths' defence to score. Soward converts the try. The Souths defenders just crashed into each other trying to stop Morris.
St George Illawarra Dragons 4-0
5 min: St George get piggyback up the field after Souths concede a penalty.
8 min: TRY
The Dragons spread it out wide through Soward who passes to Gasnier who draws the defence before passing too Nightingale who scores. Soward's conversion attempt from the western sideline is successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 8-0
14 min: Rhy Wesser knocks the ball 10 out from his own try line on tackle one.
17 min: TRY
Matt Cooper goes straight through the Souths goal line defence to score. It's been all too easy for the saints in the first 15. Conversion attempt by Soward is unsuccessful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 14-0
20 min: TRY
Chris Mcqueen makes a knock on 20 out from his own line. Jason Nightingale pushes away the would-be defenders and the Dragons are over again. Soward's conversion is successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 20-0
22 min: Gasnier makes a break for the Dragons. He offloads to Boyd who passes to Fien who is tackled only 10 meters out. However Fien knocks on and the Bunnies are off the hook.
27 min: Dragons will get a piggyback out of their own half after the Rabbitohs conceded a penalty for a flop.
28 min: Nathan Fien is pinned for a forward pass and Souths will get a full set in the Dragons' half.
29 min: Sutton puts up a cross-field bomb on the last and Merrit is able to take the kick and pass it before he is tackled over the sideline, however his pass goes to Boyd.
30 min: Cuthbertson knocks the ball on trying to play it on his own 40. Souths will get another chance to go on the attack.
31 min: Burgess knock it on after being hammered by the Dragons' defence.
33 min: Sandow makes a good half break into the Dragons half but Sutton throws a hospital pass on the last forcing McQueen to rush backwards and dive on the loose ball and the Dragons are off the hook again.
36 min: Gasnier loses the ball on a few meters from his try line.
36 min: TRY
Rhys Wesser scores in the corner after combining with Sandow. Sandow's shot at goal is successful
St George Illawarra Dragons 20-6
38 min: Souths will get a line dropout after Boyd is forced to play at a Sandow grubber into the in goal.
40 min: Sandow kicks it into the in goal on the third and Ben Hornby bats it dead and that's the half.
41 min: The Rabbitohs will run it out of their half for the first set of the second half.
42 min: Both sides have made good meters from their opening sets.
43 min: Souths will get a penalty 20 out from the Dragons' line after Sandow is taken out during a kick and chase attempt.
47 min: TRY
Nathan Peats catches the Dragons' defence napping out of dummy half and burrows over to score. Sandow misses a conversion from right in front.
St George Illawarra Dragons 20-10
47 min: Dragons are trapped 10metres out from their own line on tackle three.
49 min: TRY
Sandow puts up a cross-field bomb on the last and Dylan Farrell leaps higher than the Dragons' defence and dives over to score. Sandow's conversion attempt is successful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 20-16
52 min: Dragons are really struggling to get any good field position in the second half. They are being dominated all over the field by the Bunnies at the moment.
53 min: Dylan Farrell might have a double.
54 min: TRY
Russell Smith gives the Bunnies the green light. The try came after a clever kick by Sandow into the in goal is too knocked on by Brett Morris. Sandow kicks the conversion to put South Sydney in front.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-20
56 min: Soward kick it out on the full and the Rabbits will go on the attack again.
57 min: Souths will get a line dropout after Ben Hornby is forced to take Sutton's grubber dead.
59 min: Dragons are trapped in goal and Souths will get another go at the tryline.
60 min: Sandow goes to the air on the last and it goes out on the full. Dragons have done well to absorb the pressure.
61 min: Rabbitohs concede a penalty to give the Dragons a piggyback up the field.
61 min: Souths concede another penalty.
62 min: Soward puts in a poorly weighted grubber on the last and Peats is able to clean it up easily.
63 min: Luke knocks the ball on from dummy half 30 out from his own try line on the last.
64 min: Merritt attempts an intercept on his own 20 but knocks it on.
65 min: Nathan Merrit pulls off a successful intercept on this occasion and his side are off the hook.
68 min: Dragons are making more meters sidewards than they are forward at the moment.
70 min: Dragons will get a scrum feed 10 metres short of halfway after Inglis knocks the ball on in an attempted intercept.
71 min: Dragons will get a line dropout after Boyd grubbers into the in goal and Rhys Wesser is forced to bat the ball dead.
73 min: Dragons will get another line drop out after another grubber into the in goal is taken dead by Souths.
75 min: TRY
Dragons spread it out to the left and Matt Cooper muscles his way through the Souths defence for his double. Sowards shot at goal is unsuccessful.
St George Illawarra Dragons 24-22
76 min: Sandows kick off goes into touch and Souths will go on the attack 10 out.
77 min: TRY
Souths spread it out wide and Dylan Farell dives over in the corner for his hat-trick. Sandow's conversion attempt is successful.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28-24
80 min: South Sydney get six again 30 out from the Dragons' line.
80 min: TRY
Nathan Marritt scores on full time. Sandow's conversion attempt is successful.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34-24