Greg Inglis produced an all round dominant game, to help South Sydney defeat Croulla 34-28 in front of 13,281 fans at ANZ Stadium.
Coming into tonight, both teams had been on a roll and they both brought it tonight in an absorbing contest. South Sydney had the better of the earlier chances with a fortuitous charge down.
Souths utilized the second man play and Inglis' fend to send the superstar fullback over his first of his hat-trick tonight. Adam Reynold's started a perfect night with the boot with this out wide conversion.
It was billed as the battle of Inglis v Carney and it wasn't long before Cronulla through a solo Todd Carney effort hit back when he sold the Rabbitohs the dummy and snuck in for a try to make it 6 all.
This ignited an end to end contest with both sides throwing around the football though it was a adventitious try to Merritt wrest the lead back and Inglis' second made it an even dozen the difference.
Carney again was the spark for the Sharks after Gallen who had a mixed bag of a game finding Jeff Robson, who touched down to make it 18-12 at halftime of an enthralling contest.
After all the attacking from the first half, the second started with a penalty goal from Reynolds after a contentious penalty for Sutton being taken out.
As was the pattern, Cronulla hit back, one again with Todd Carney playing the provider and Stewart Mills dived over to cut the lead to four.
Fatigue was setting and when tiredness sinks in, superstars come to the fore and Greg Inglis leaped high to complete his hat-trick and once again, kick South Sydney clear.
Nathan Merritt made it a brace from a pass from who else but Greg Inglis putting them twenty clear of the gallant Cronulla. Cronulla would score twice through Best and Pomeroy to set up a grandstand finish which didn't materialise.
Tonight belonged to South Sydney, who are starting to click into gear in attack with Inglis at fullback plus the return of Sam Burgess are well placed going into the bye.
Cronulla despite losing, won't lose heart from tonight and will head down to Melbourne for a mouth watering Sunday afternoon clash with Melbourne.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 defeated Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 28
National Rugby League - Round 9 - Monday May 7, 2012 7:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Chris James
Video Referee: Pat Reynolds
Touch Judges: Dan Eastwood and Dave Abood
Halftime: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (34)
Tries: Greg Inglis (3), Nathan Merritt (2)
Field Goals: Greg Inglis (0/1)
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (5/5)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (2/2)
CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (28)
Tries: Todd Carney, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Jeff Robson, Stewart Mills
Conversions: Todd Carney (4/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to a chilly ANZ Stadium for what is shaping up to be an entertaining contest. Cronulla are aiming for their seventh straight win while South Sydney are looking to keep the momentum going.
Rugby league games are never over, as the u20s Sharks found out, with two late tries and a buzzer conversion from Apisai Koroisau giving South Sydney a DRAW in the Toyota Cup curtain raiser.
South Sydney: Welcome back Sam Burgess who takes Chris McQueen's spot on the bench.
Cronulla: Mark Taufua takes Sam Tagataese's spot on the bench.
Remember for those who follow our updates and have twitter, TAG your tweets with #NRLsoucro to get into the discussion.
The battle march is sounding around ANZ to accompany the Sharks on the field and the traditional anthem "Glory Glory to South Sydney" accompanying the home side.
1 min: We have kick-off and Cronulla will get first use of the football.
3 min: An early scare for the Sharks with the ball rebounding to Luke on last and he almost found Merritt in the clear.
3 min: Cronulla try to be fancy early and lose the ball.
6 min: TRY
After the penalty, South Sydney decline the two. A similar play which reaped rewards against North Queensland worked again, Inglis palms off Carney to score. Reynolds from out wide, converts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-0
6 min: Following the penalty which brought points for Souths, Paul Gallen has been put on report, for a knee to the face.
7 min: Souths were dominating but have undone all the hard work, with a soft penalty for laying on the tackled player too long.
8 min: Issac De Gois darts from dummy half and is almost across the tryline but he's lost it.
9 min: Exciting passage of play here. From the restart, Inglis surged to the 20 and was in the clear but got taken down. Souths lost it a few tackles later.
10 min: It's been an open start of the game, Todd Carney has found open space and threw a cut-out to Mills who is cut down. A Gallen pass is knocked down and earns Cronulla another set.
12 min: TRY
Carney wafts across field, looking for the hole and gets outside Dylan Farrell and decides to go himself, scoring. He had spiderwebs on him just then. Carney converts his own try to bring us back level.
15 min: Greg Inglis launched a towering bomb which Matthew Wright deals with. He earns the Sharks a penalty because a few defenders were offside from Inglis' kick.
VIDEO REFEREE: Nathan Merritt has streaked away from a loose ball but we're going upstairs to check.
17 min: TRY
Green lights, it's a TRY! The ball deflected from Jason Bukuya onto the ground and Nathan Merritt swoops, running to the tryline unopposed. Reynolds with the simple conversion, makes no mistake.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-6
19 min: Matthew Wright has gone down after he's tackled. Replays show he was hit in the head and will draw the customary penalty.. this is a bane on our game in it's current state. King has been put on report.
21 min: A good defensive stand from South Sydney repels Cronulla who spill it through Best.
21 min: Sam Burgess is BACK for his first game since round five.
23 min: That was a crowd penalty. The Souths faithful were baying for it and the referee obliged after Dylan Farrell was held down too long.
26 min: TRY
Another try for Inglis! This time he teamed up with Eddy Pettybourne for a run around, sending himself over for his second of the night. Reynolds keeps his perfect record alive for the night with this one.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-6
27 min: It seems when South Sydney have done all the good work, they spoil it with a penalty. Again, this time for offside.
29 min: Cronulla don't need an invitation to attack and come close through Wright but it's a changeover.
29 min: There's a disagreement between the two hookers but in comes the cavalry. Luke is penalised for being the third man involved. Huge moment here for Cronulla, they have it one metre out.
32 min: TRY
They made Souths pay for the penalty. Gallen kept it alive after being hit high, finding Robson who gets the tip of the ball on the tryline and that's good enough for a TRY! Carney raises the flags to make it six the difference.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-12
32 min: Oh dear. Paul Gallen who has been involved in everything tonight but this time he's involved in a knock on in goal.
36 min: Cronulla attacking but the short pass is dropped. South Sydney feed, just short of halfway.
38 min: Cronulla are trying to keep pace with Souths but they keep spilling it, this time Best the culprit.
40 min: Well that wasn't the plan.. Souths attack on last and it went to Pettybourne who kicks it, Mills is caught in goal. Dropout.
40 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Why not.. from the restart, Inglis has a go at the field goal but misses.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-12
41 min: After an entertaining first half, here comes both teams for the second half.
41 min: Carney puts boot to ball and we're back underway.
43 min: Sharks are rewarded for two quick darts, Matthew Wright earning the penalty.
44 min: Carney again, he found open space after getting past a defender.. he flicks it or tries to and spills it.
45 min: Harsh penalty here, Sutton kicks it deep and is taken late by John Morris, earning South Sydney the penalty.
47 min: PENALTY GOAL
Rabbitohs opt for the penalty goal. Reynolds steps up and slots it.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20-12
50 min: Cronulla earn another set kicking it to Everingham's wing and forcing the winger to drop it.
51 min: Penalty Cronulla and they will continue to pour on the pressure.
VIDEO REFEREE: Checking if Gallen might have got the ball down. If not, it'll be a dropout for the Souths player stripping the ball.
52 min: NO TRY! but Cronulla will get the ball back.
54 min: TRY
Good exchange of passes from Cronulla, with the final ball from Pomeroy to Mills sends the latter over for the try. Carney has his first miss of the night.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20-16
55 min: This is getting disgraceful. Another player staying down for a penalty, Mark Taufua staying down after contact. Josh Starling will join Matt King on report.
56 min: Justice prevails, Sharks lose it. The big news is Gallen is leaving the field.
57 min: PENALTY South Sydney. The roar was huge from the Burrow after Inglis got the penalty.
59 min: Souths earn another penalty.. for the Sharks being offside.
VIDEO REFEREE: Greg Inglis might have his hat-trick, checking the contest.
61 min: TRY
Last tackle, Adam Reynolds puts the ball near the post and finds a flying Inglis who touches down. Reynolds converts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 26-16
63 min: It seems the Sharks are tiring. Knocks ons are creeping in. Scrum South Sydney.
VIDEO REFEREE: Nathan Merritt might have scored.. checking the grounding.
66 min: TRY
Given.. TRY! Nathan Merrit knows how to find the try-line and tonight is no different. He was on the end of a beautiful pass from Inglis. Reynolds keeps the perfect record in tact with this conversion.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 32-16
VIDEO REFEREE: Matt King might have made a meal of this and possibly given Colin Best a try.
71 min: TRY
TRY! Cronulla have a glimmer of hope. The kick on last is spilled by King and Colin Best is there to score. Carney from the sideline, converts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 32-22
73 min: Reynolds with the banana kick almost finds Merritt. It's tapped dead by Cronulla.
74 min: Short dropout by Sharks and they recover it! Plus get a penalty for being held off the ball.
75 min: The momentum was all with Cronulla and on last Williams goes for the try-line but loses it.
76 min: Penalty to South Sydney.. after the ball is loose and Cronulla is offside. Sharks are marched ten as well, for throwing the ball away.
77 min: PENALTY GOAL
South Sydney point to the posts and Reynolds pots it.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34-22
79 min: TRY
Colin Best has found open space and is looking for his support, he's tackled. Carney puts in the kick and it's batted back for Pomeroy to score. Carney converts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34-28
80 min: Sharks had one play and it came to naught. South Sydney will win.