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A hot humid night greeted the Dragons and Rabbitohs for their Charity Shield clash tonight at Aussie Stadium. The Dragons never looked threatened as they took out the game in front of 21,500 fans by 34-8.
Both teams came out firing, playing at a frenetic pace. The hard hits by the Dragons soon took their toll, and the Rabbitohs were guilty of spilling the ball at crucial times on attack.
Three very good tries to the Dragons in the first half had them build up a lead at the break by 16-0.
A try early in the second half to the Rabbitohs gave them a slight glimmer of hope, but that was soon squashed as the Dragons capitalised on the Rabbitohs continuous spilling of the ball and put on two quick tries to seal the match.
Stand out performances by Fletcher, Stringer and Peters for the Rabbitohs. Thompson, Timmins and Bailey also performed well for the Dragons
Scorers: RABBITOHS Tries: Rigon, Hookey Goals: Riddle (0/2) DRAGONS Tries: Cooper, Barrett, Perenara, Blacklock, Timmins, Creagh Goals: Riddell (1/2), Russell (4/4)
By the clock:
A Wembley style entrance for both teams onto the field in front of a pretty vocal crowd at Aussie Stadium, estimated at this stage in excess of 20,000. The unofficial NRL season game is about to kick off with Martina Navratilova to do the honours.
5th min: A solid start for the Dragons. A line dropout early in the game to put pressure on the oppostion. Russell unfortunately putting a bit too much pressure on the grubber kick. The Rabbitohs are without Hill and MacDougall. Score nil all.
8th min: David Howell (Dragons) close to scoring but the ball fumbled on the last. The Dragons are on fire.
9th min: Riddell close to the line, runs from dummy half and bust over the line however the video ref calls the ball held up. 0-0
10th min: TRY - Cooper (Dragons). With the new rules this season, the tackle count continues from the ball held up over the line. Timmins spreads the ball quickly from the tap, and Cooper scores with ease out wide. Riddell misses the conversion. Dragons 4-0
15th min: A few errors creeping into the game by both sides, which is being played at a frantic pace. Tough tackling by the Dragons stop the Rabbitohs first scoring opportunity. Dragons lead 4-0
20th min: Rabbitohs very close to scoring following a goal line dropout. A solid tackle by Hornby for the Dragons stopped a charging Stringer who lost the ball forward in the tackle. Still 4-0 to the Dragons
25th min: TRY - Barrett (Dragons) Souths guilty of giving away possession through penalties, allow the Dragons to get close to their line. A nice little grubber kick by Barrett bounces up and hits the post. He regathers the ball easily to score by the posts. Russell adds the extra 2 points. Dragons 10-0
30th min: NEWS - The Rabbitohs coughing up the ball too easily to give the Dragons the weight of possession in this half.
34th min: NEWS - Once again fast plays are the nature of the game, this time with the Rabbitohs on attack. Unfortnately for them a high bomb into the ingoal was knocked forward by a Rabbitoh. The Dragons hold onto their lead, 10-0
39th min: TRY - Perenara (Dragons). After the Rabbitohs bomb a certain try, the Dragons once again regain possession. Barret bursts through the line, and runs 40 metres to set up Perenara nicely for the try. Russell adds the extra 2 points from out in front. Dragons 16-0
HALFTIME - A very fast game with the Dragons putting in some heavy shots, and looking good on attack. The Rabbitohs especially in the last 20 minutes, have started to find holes in the Dragons defence. Unfortunately for them, their ball handling is letting them down. Dragons 16-0
41st min: NEWS - Halftime stats. Possession favours the Dragons by 61% to 39%. The penalty count 6-5 to the Dragons. Completion rates - Dragons 20/25, Rabbitohs 12/20
43rd min: TRY - Rigon (Rabbitohs). The Rabbitohs hit back straight away in the half with Peters making an impression on the game. Polglase came close to scoring but a great tackle by Blacklock brought him to a standstill. Rigon was there to finsh off. Riddle misses the conversion. Dragons 16-4
50th min: TRY - Blacklock (Dragons). A well deserved try to Blacklock who has gone looking for work. Timmins makes a brilliant break up the middle,flicks the ball to Hornby and a flying Blacklock finishes off in style. Russell, from right by the posts converts the try. Dragons 22-4
55th min: Timmins (Dragons). Great combination between Kite and Riddell sets up Timmins to score under the posts. Riddell from out in front, has no trouble adding 2 points. Dragons 28-4
61st min: NEWS - After having a horror night, Bajouri (Rabbitohs) looked to have his foot over the dead ball line as he grounded the ball. The video ref confirms this. Dragons 28-4
68th min: TRY - Hookey (Rabbitohs). The combination passes finally stuck with a fine try down the short side involving former Dragons players Willie Peters and Lee Hookey. Riddle from out wide, misses the conversion after it struck the right upright. Dragons 28-8
75th min: NEWS - The game guilty of slowing down to almost a walk as both teams tire. The stars of the night take a well deserved rest
78th min: TRY - Creagh (Dragons). The young Dragons Russell and Head combine well to allow Creagh to run onto the ball, step around the defence and score. Russell kicks a beauty conversion from the sideline. Dragons 34-8
FULL TIME: A fine workout for both sides, but a well deserved win to the Dragons who retain the Charity Sheild, 34-8.