The South Sydney Rabbitohs have scored their 9th consecutive victory of the 2018 season with a convincing 24-6 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs in front of a healthy crowd at ANZ Stadium.
The Rabbitohs were looking to consolidate their spot at the top of the ladder and it was a slow start for the Rabbitohs with their origin stars returning to NRL action just 3 days since playing in Origin 3. The Rabbitohs had the best of the chances early but a number of early errors in good position let the Bulldogs off the hook as they went to attack. The Bulldogs then took the best of the possession in the middle of the half with plenty of chances but a combination of lacklustre attack and some solid Rabbitohs defence kept the Bulldogs out. The Bulldogs took the lead after 20 minutes when Rhyse Martin kicked a penalty goal to give the Dogs the lead.
Souths started to get their mojo after that point and they opened their account in the 27th minute when another Rabbitohs scrum set piece came together after a Brett Morris error gave Souths a scrum on the Bulldogs 10m. The Rabbitohs went from right to left off the scrum and the Bulldogs defence held off the ball carrier and eventually the ball ended up in the hands of Robert Jennings who had his first of the afternoon.
They added another try just two minutes later when the Bulldogs middle defence was caught out by a cheeky Damien Cook burst out of dummy half and a string of good offloads from Crichton and Cody Walker found Adam Reynolds who burst through and scored under the sticks and after his own conversion the Rabbitohs lead by 12-2. The Bulldogs had a chance to add points with five minutes until the half time break but the bunker denied Rhyse Martin who was ruled to have been held up live onfield before the decision was confirmed by the bunker.
The second half started with the Rabbitohs taking a dominant stance both with possession and territory and they almost crossed just two minutes into the half when Sam Burgess was denied by some strong defence forced an error out of the big Englishman. The Rabbitohs however were able to add the next set of points when Adam Reynolds slotted a penalty goal to extend the Rabbitohs lead out to 14-2 after the Bulldogs markers were ruled to have interfered with the play.
Robert Jennings then picked up his second try of the afternoon when Adam Reynolds saw the Bulldogs outside backs up and in the line so the South Sydney halfback put boot to ball and Jennings had an open passage to the try line and after confirmation from the Bunker the Rabbitohs lead 18-2. Despite having a strong lead, the Rabbitohs were consistently being put under defence pressure by the Bulldogs and the Bulldogs finally cracked the line in the 53rd minute when Will Hopoate was able to keep his arm free and get a basketball style lob pass out to Reimis Smith who scored in the corner.
The Bulldogs conistently put the Rabbitohs under pressure but the attack didn't come to much for the Bulldogs with poor options and errors ending any chances they had for points. The Bulldogs were able to get across the line with 13 minutes to go when Aiden Tolman claimed a try although the referees didn't agree and sent the effort to the bunker on a No Try live decision. The live decision was upheld and after some confusion over who the ensuing scrum feed was going to the Bulldogs had another chance to score but couldn't.
South Sydney put the icing on the cake with just under 10 minutes to play when the Bulldogs right side defence was again caught out when indecision from Kerrod Holland left Reimis Smith in no man's land and Cody Walker found Robert Jennings on the outside and the Rabbitohs had their fourth of the afternoon and Robert Jennings had his third.
Canterbury next week have a clash with fellow cellar dwellers the Parramatta Eels on Thursday night whilst the Rabbitohs are again the "away" team at their home ground when they take on the Wests Tigers next Saturday afternoon.