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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
South Sydney have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, after winger Campbell Graham scored a miracle try with just seconds remaining to defeat the Dragons 20-16 at ANZ Stadium tonight.
Despite the Rabbitohs dominating the match, two late tries from Dragons debutant Jason Saab, saw the visitors tie the game with minutes remaining. Souths centre Braidon Burns was then penalised late for an accidental offside, where returning Dragons half Gareth Widdop kicked a clutch penalty to secure an unlikely victory with a minute remaining on the clock.
Souths then delivered a last second miracle, when five-eighth Cody Walker found his centre in Burns, who delivered a miracle draw and flick pass to put his winger Graham over to secure an amazing victory.
The Rabbitohs looked to have the game wrapped up, when Reynolds took a shot a field goal to ice the game. However, his kick was charged down and re-gathered by Cameron McInnes. The ball then moved out quickly to find Saab, who scored his second try in a memorable debut for the youngster.
It was a grinding affair early, with both sides looking to create a dominant position in the middle of the field. The first points for both sides came through penalty goals to make it 2 all after the first 20 minutes.
It wasn't until a slick play from South Sydney on the right edge, which saw the Bunnies halves in Adam Reynolds and Walker combine to put Dane Gagai over in the corner for the first try of the match. Reynolds missed the conversion from the sideline and it was Souths who led 6-2 at halftime.
Souths took the ascendency early in the second half, when Dragons halfback Ben Hunt dropped the ball cold on the last tackle. The Rabbitohs made the error from the Queensland representative pay, when Walker took the line on and crashed over to score. Reynolds' conversion hit the upright and the home side were leading 10-2.
The Rabbitohs pushed further ahead, when Reynolds and Adam Doeuhi combined to put Gagai over in the corner for his second try of the match. Reynolds uncharacteristically again missed the conversion; however Souths lead of 14-2 with 10 minutes remaining and victory looked inevitable.
Returning Dragons half, Gareth Widdop then took control of the match, by first delivering a deft grubber for Saab to score his first try and narrow the scoreline in the process following his sideline conversion.
Following Saab's second try, the Rabbitohs were feeling the pressure and when Souths centre Burns was penalised for being accidentally offside. Widdop had a difficult shot to give his team the edge and as the kick sailed over, St George looked home and hosed.
South Sydney had one more trick shot however, when the ball shifted to the left for one last Hail Mary play and Burns flicked a pass under pressure for his winger Graham to secure the miracle win for Wayne Bennett's side.
The Bunnies now face the Sharks at Pointsbet Stadium next Saturday night, as they look to keep their momentum rolling.
The Dragons meanwhile are in crisis and need to win almost all their remaining games to secure a now unlikely finals birth. This starts mission starts with a return to Kogarah Oval next Sunday, where they will face the Parramatta Eels.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20 - St George Illawarra Dragons 16
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Halftime Score: South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 St George Illawarra Dragons 2
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cameron Murray
2 points - Cody Walker
1 points - Gareth Widdop
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (20)
Tries: Dane Gagai (2), Cody Walker, Campbell Graham
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (1/4)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (1/1)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (16)
Tries: Jason Saab (2)
Conversions: Gareth Widdop (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Gareth Widdop (2/2)