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A lacklustre game at Toyota Stadium tonight saw the South Sydney Rabbitohs defeat Cronulla-Sutherland 30-8 in front of 10,741 rain-soaked fans.
The Sharks looked eager early on and scored the opening try but it was all downhill from there, the Rabbitohs posting three first half tries (including two to centre Beau Champion) to have the ascendency by 18-4 at halftime.
The second half descended into chaos for the most part, with haphazard contests for the ball, countless errors and a poor completion rate from both sides making the game a difficult one to watch, and times to referee for Shayne Hayne and Brett Suttor, who kept their noses clean this week after last weeks howlers at Parramatta.
The Rabbitohs ultimately scored twice more in the second half to confirm the result, while the Sharks managed another try of their own in the second half to bring the final scoreline to 30-8.
Injury concerns will be at the forefront for both sides, Cronulla's Dean Collis and South Sydney's Fetuli Talanoa as well as Dave Tyrell all with troubles forcing them off the field well before fulltime - and in Collis's case before halftime.
Next week Cronulla will host Parramatta as they strive to open their account for 2010, while Souths will host a rejuvenated Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on Easter Monday night.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 8 were defeated by South Sydney Rabbitohs 30
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 3 - Monday March 29, 2010 7:00pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Bill Harrigan
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Luke Potter
Halftime: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 4 South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Beau Champion (2 Tries)
2 Points - Issac Luke (1 Try, 5 Conversions)
1 Point - John Sutton
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (8)
Tries: Luke Covell, Blake Ferguson
Conversions: Luke Covell (0/2)
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (30)
Tries: Beau Champion (2), Sam Burgess, Colin Best, Issac Luke
Conversions: Issac Luke (5/5)
Penalty Goals: Issac Luke (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's cool and wet at Toyota Stadium tonight, some there braving the elements. Pre-game we've heard news that Issac Luke accidentally found himself at ANZ Stadium not Toyota, tonights venue. Both teams are as per program, the Sharks will wear their white and sky blue home strip, the Rabbitohs their white-panelled away strip.
1 min: Kickoff in the last game of Round 3 and the Sharks let it dribble before collecting it and running it back. A solid first set for Cronulla given how they started last weekend against New Zealand
2 min: First penalty of the game is awarded to South Sydney and they will enter the opposition half first in tonight's clash.
3 min: Albert Kelly takes a stunning kick return and runs it back 20 metres into the field of play from the in goal. A penalty piggybacks Cronulla into the Rabbits' half and now they will attack.
5 min: The Sharks' last tackle option is a bit messy but Barrett gets the grubber away - Talanoa spills it as her catches it but the men in pink have missed it and Souths are out of gaol.
8 min: TRY
Souths knock-on a bomb and Cronulla go the short side from the scrum and it's too easy for Stapleton to link with Luke Covell who scores. His sideline conversion of his own four-pointer misses by a whisker.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 4-0
11 min: We're going up to Bill Harrigan for the first time tonight, Beau Champion has crossed the line with amazing ease - but we're checking a potential Issac Luke knock-on at dummy half...
12 min: TRY
The ruling is no separation occured between Luke's hands and the ball, so Champion's try is awarded. Luke converts and puts his side up by two.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-4
16 min: Souths put a huge bomb up and Stapleton can't take it - the visitors now with six again as Cronulla are showing worrying signs despite the positive start.
18 min: Bill Harrigan called to action again, Beau Champion in for his second try, this time out wide. The Sharks had stacked their defence to their right, and the Rabbits capitalise accordingly. Just checking the grounding.
19 min: TRY
Champion's in for his second with the green light given. A stunning sideline conversion from Issac Luke now sees the Bunnies in front by eight.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-4
21 min: The Bunnies are peppering the Sharks backline with bombs and Kelly drops it cold - Souths scrum just 10 metres from the Cronulla line.
22 min: TRY
Colin Best powers over from the ensuing set of six and the Bunnies are looking to unlock the floodgates early.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-4
24 min: Beau Champion has taken Nathan Stapleton high and the Sharks get a penalty from it. Not much in it but the Sharks will get a chance to close the gap... no they won't - Cuthbertson drops it in the second tackle.
26 min: Souths with a penalty on halfway now, they'll go on the attack inside the Sharks 30m line.
27 min: Nothing doing on the last for the Bunnies as Sandow hands possession over via a chip kick. Asotasi off now after just under half an hour. Sharks also with a penalty as they move up the park to have another crack at Souths' line.
29 min: Gallen's held up over the line on the 4th, then the Sharks fifth tackle option shows us how to knock on. Terrible footy. Rabbitohs scrum on their own 10m line.
30 min: Penalty against Cronulla for being too quick off their line, Souths will attack again and could well shut the game down here.
32 min: Nothing doing again for Souths, an inside chip into the in goal is too deep and rolls dead.
35 min: Cronulla manage to force repeat sets. Can they apply more pressure? Never mind. Another knock on. Souths scrum.
36 min: Issac Luke makes a break up the centre of the park but he's got no support and ends up passing backwards to Paul Gallen who counterattacks in the opposite direction. The Sharks attack but it breaks down about 10 metres out as Covell goes over the touchline.
39 min: Trent Barrett is clutching his sternum after a huge hit from Geddes and Luke, he was driven into the turf. He may well just be winded... he gets up to play the ball as Shayne Hayne remarks that "he's got a few more ribs". He rushes to the wing to play the remaining minute of play. Souths get another offside penalty and they'll go for goal as we head to halftime.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
Issac Luke misses the penalty goal attempt as we go to halftime with an eager groundsman sounding the horn multiple times - perhaps to put Luke off? The score remains 18-4 in favour of the South Sydney side at oranges.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-4
41 min: We're back in business at Toyota Stadium for the second half. Both teams are back out on the park and we have kickoff. In injury news - Cronulla have lost centre Dean Collis to an ankle injury and will be down to 16 men the remainder of the game.
42 min: Souths centre Colin Best forces an error from Sharks winger Blake Ferguson but it's at a cost, Talanoa and Tyrell both contacted by Best as they came in to assist, Best striking Talanoa's leg and Tyrell's head. Talanoa jogs it out but Tyrell will need assessing.
44 min: TRY
Sam Burgess powers over to score his first try in the Telstra Premiership. Luke converts. Confirmation now that Dave Tyrell is now off the field with concerns over his head and eye.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-4
46 min: Video Referee this time and Cronulla being checked for a potential try. Blake Ferguson the potential scorer.
47 min: TRY
A bomb from Trent Barrett pays dividends as Talanoa spills it into the in-goal and a rushing Ferguson manages to get himself to the ball first. Covell keeps his 0% kicking record intact with another miss.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-8
49 min: Cronulla with a penalty and the count is funnily enough 5-all on that front. The kick for touch from 10m out only reaches about 20 metres so the Sharks will still start the set within their own half.
49 min: ...then Gallen puts it down just as things look promising. Elementary mistake from an experienced player.
53 min: Cronulla trying something special, Kelly flicking it low onto Covell near the line out wide but it goes under Covell's hands into touch.
55 min: Another bomb troubles Kelly, this time he misses it completely and then the contest for the scraps turns into a shambles. Poor quality football so far today, that passage of play as proof.
55 min: Stapleton is down for Cronulla and it looks like his knee is giving him trouble. He goes out the back of the line to receive treatment as the Sharks play on.
56 min: Another bomb and Albert Kelly buggers it up again! Now Souths are in possession in front of the posts and can wrap the game up with a try here.
60 min: TRY
After a number of repeat sets Issac Luke spins and turns and plonks the ball on the tryline under the sticks. Easy conversion of his own try and Souths hit 30.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30-8
64 min: Another bomb, but Kelly can't get to it - Sandow's knocked him out. Penalty Cronulla. Further up the park and Cronulla get another, a fresh set of six on Souths' line.
66 min: Josh Cordoba is penalised for a high tackle and a penalty to Souths will see the visitors attempt to extend their lead on the Sharks line.
69 min: Video Referee for a try to Talanoa - he's injured himself in the process though, that knee giving him trouble again. Doubt over the put down... looks like... NO TRY.
71 min: Promising play from Cronulla but a chip-kick after 10-odd offloads in one play is charged down and grabbed by Issac Luke and Souths will work it off their own line.
75 min: Souths penalised for an obstruction as they looked to run away with a long-range try. Cronulla's attack from the penalty results in a drop ball out wide and Souths reclaim possession.
78 min: Both sides trying silly razzle-dazzle footy which doesn't suit either sides style or the conditions. Play is winding down and both Cronulla and Souths look like they want to be in the sheds rather than on the park.
80 min: Mercy is realised as we reach fulltime. Many of the Toyota Stadium faithful left for the exits many minutes ago and the stands look bare as the siren sounds. South Sydney with an easy but lacklustre win 30-8.