The South Sydney Rabbitohs have overcome adversity to down the St George Illawarra Dragons 32-24 in the opening match of the 2020 Indigenous Round.
Trailing 16-0 and losing captain Adam Reynolds inside the opening quarter, starring performances from Indigenous trio Cody Walker, Alex Johnston and Latrell Mitchell saw the Rabbitohs storm home in front of 2,719 supporters at Kogarah.
Opening the scoring through Matt Dufty (6th minute) after Corey Norman picked up a loose ball before sending the fullback down field, the Rabbitohs woes were compounded when Reynolds was escorted from the field with a shoulder injury.
Continuing his impressive start to the match, Dufty fired a bullet pass to send Euan Aitken (11th minute) into space, before backing up a few sets later to claim his second of the night (16th minute).
Down 16-0 and needing to stem the flow of points, Rabbitohs playmaker Walker (20th minute) showed tremendous footwork close to the line to get the visitors on the board.
Reducing the margin further when Johnston (31st minute) latched onto an intercept to run 80 metres, the Rabbitohs headed to the sheds locked at 16-all after Mitchell (35th minute) was on the spot to pounce on a kick in-field from Johnston.
Capitalising on a poor defensive read from Zac Lomax, Johnston (47th minute) put the visitors ahead for the first time before Tyson Frizell (52nd minute) responded despite appearing to knock on in the act of grounding.
With the scores tied at 20-all heading into the final quarter, Walker (61st minute) finished off a tremendous break from Dane Gagai to put the Rabbitohs in the box seat for victory.
Thrown into the match late, Dragons utility Tristain Sailor had a hand in the final tries of the night; first with an intercept to gift Johnston (73rd minute) his hat-trick, before redeeming himself with a nicely weighted grubber for Mikaele Ravalawa (79th minute) to post a consolation effort on full-time.
Bouncing back following back-to-back losses, the win sees the Rabbitohs temporarily moving into the top eight, while the Dragons face a difficult road ahead following consecutive losses at Kogarah.
Next week, the Dragons face the Roosters in Wollongong on Thursday evening, while the Rabbitohs return to ANZ Stadium for the first time since the opening round to host the Broncos on Friday night.