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St George Illawarra Dragons fall short against South Sydney Rabbitohs

Rabbitohs 29 Dragons 10

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Dragons off the pace against impressive Rabbitohs

A change of coach couldn't change the fortunes of the Dragons, as they were rolled 29-10 by the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.

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They had a new coach, a new centre and a new fullback, but it was the same old sorry story for St George Illawarra against South Sydney on Monday night.

Dragons interim coach Paul McGregor made a number of changes to the side he inherited that had the potential to prove master-strokes in his first week in the top job, but he was given little to smile about in the 29-10 loss at ANZ Stadium.

Heavy traffic: Dylan Walker of the Rabbitohs is stopped in his tracks.

Heavy traffic: Dylan Walker of the Rabbitohs is stopped in his tracks. Photo: Getty Images

South Sydney versus St George Illawarra
View Match Statistics
Players Reddy(2), Burgess, Reynolds, Walker Tries 5 Tries 2 Players Beale, Frizell
Players Walker 1/1 (100%), Reynolds 3/4 (75%) Conversions 4 Conversions 1 Players Widdop 1/2 (50%)
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Reynolds 1/1 (100%) Field goals 1 Field goals 0 Players

It was the Dragons' seventh loss in their past eight games, which has turned their promising opening to the year into a season of despair as they attempt to avoid missing the finals for the third consecutive season.

The Josh Dugan experiment at right centre, which would have been monitored closely by Blues coach Laurie Daley, didn't have the desired effect.

The Rabbitohs scored all three of their first half tries down his side of the field - not all his fault - but it hardly provided the Blues coach with the answer for the selection conundrum he faces given a knee injury to Josh Morris in game one.

Gerard Beale is held by Ben Te'o.

Gerard Beale is held by Ben Te'o. Photo: Getty Images

Dugan finished the game with 10 runs, 79 metres, four tackle breaks, two errors and two missed tackles - one of which led to a Sam Burgess try in the first half.

The answer might have come in the form of the centre in the opposition team, with Dylan Walker producing a five star performance that might just see the teenager bolt into Origin contention.

While Benji Marshall could be forgiven for a lacklustre showing in his first hit out for the Dragons against Parramatta a fortnight ago, there was little improvement in another less-than-impressive outing.

Kyle Turner hits the deck.

Kyle Turner hits the deck. Photo: Getty Images

Marshall's kicking game was hot and cold throughout the night, while his attack lacked the fluency needed to exploit the South Sydney defensive line.

In front of disappointing crowd of 11,771 at ANZ Stadium, the Rabbitohs produced a typically strong performance to jump from 11th before the start of the match to fourth on 14 points.

The night began in controversy when George Burgess was denied a try by the video referees after Shane Hayne sent it upstairs as a try.

However the video referees somehow ruled that Burgess lost control of the ball short of the line, despite replays showing there was insufficient evidence to overturn the original ruling.

It angered skipper John Sutton, who approached the referee and said: "You were right in front of it".

But the Rabbitohs didn't have to wait long for their first points of the night, with a cut-out pass from Inglis putting Joel Reddy away down the touch line for a 6-0 lead after 22 minutes.

The Dragons had a try of their own disallowed when the video referees correctly overturned the on-field decision  when Peter Mata'Utia grounded a Gareth Widdop grubber dead in goal.

The Rabbithohs' next try also came in controversial fashion when Sam Burgess was awarded a try by the men upstairs despite replays indicating the ball might have came loose as he slid across the turf.

Inglis was again the provider for South Sydney's third try of the first half, playing a hand in Reddy's second try of the night to give the home side an 18-0 lead after 33 minutes.

The Dragons kept their hopes of a come-from-behind win alive just before half time, with a Marshall bomb forcing a mistake from South Sydney that led to a Gerard Beale try from the ensuing set for St George Illawarra.

But two quick tries to South Sydney's Adam Reynolds and Dylan Walker mid-way through the second half erased any hope of an unlikely comeback from the men in red and white.

Tyson Frizell scored the Dragons' second try of the night with the game in the bag for South Sydney, before Reynolds put the icing on the cake with a field goal to seal the 19 point win.

14 comments so far

  • Ummm maybe it wasn't the coach after all

    Date and time
    June 03, 2014, 5:40AM
    • well if the coach formed the team and decided he did not need any props of decent size .... well yes I still think it was the coach.

      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 8:45AM
    • One game is hardly enough to turn a ship around but I thought they played better last night that in the past few weeks. I was more than willing to give Steve Price the benefit of the doubt last year, as he didn't have much of a team, but this season's playing roster is as good as anyone's and they showed it in the first few rounds. The problem is, as individual players and as a team, they have gotten worse and worse each week. It's hard not to lay the blame for that with the coach and his staff.

      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 9:21AM
    • Or maybe it was the coach and the new coach is just as bad? Or maybe the new coach needs a week or so with the players.

      Either way, blind freddy can see that we need front rowers.

      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 10:05AM
    • There are greater problems at the club than just the coach, and unfortunately McGregor - as much as I admired him as a player - won't be the answer to their coarching issues. Some of the players also need to take responsibility and someone needs to 'lead' and organise things. That ain't happening at the moment. Some of the real issues lie at management and board level, and while they're allowed to continue in their ivory tower - nothing is going to change significantly.

      There seemed a little more intent from the forwards last night, however they still spent half the night running across the field, and when you spread the ball as far and as slowly as they did - you're going to get picked off. You don't need to predict what they're going to do when attacking, just enjoy a cup of coffee, sit back and wait.

      There's a long road ahead unfortunately......

      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 12:44PM
    • The new coach is from the old coach regime.
      Bad habits flow.
      A new coaching team is required.
      The players and Administration should also hang their heads in shame.

      Drowning Not Waving
      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 7:03PM
  • Wow a crowd of 11,000 in an 80,000 seat stadium. What a great atmosphere that must of been. Seems the fans are voting with their feet and they are wholeheartedly sick of Doust's maladministration. Once again the powder puff forwards failed to measure up. Once again the halves were betwixked and between not knowing whether to kick or pass till it was too late. All these big name signings like Dugan and Marshall that did relatively little to justify their inflated pay checks. For the Dragons to be a club based on nepotism as opposed to merit it was galling to watch the son of a former great (who was spurned by the club) cross for two tries on the soft right side. I despair at the speed with which Lockwood and Doust have destroyed this once great club. The spoon beckons

    Date and time
    June 03, 2014, 9:30AM
    • Michael - you are too kind to STI - they were never in the hunt and have shown no improvement at all. Woeful, error-filled rugby league from a side that should be doing much better. They needed a couple of monster forwards and ended up with an iffy back trying to make a comeback from a failed attempt at union.

      Souths weren't all that flash either, but STI made them look good.

      Date and time
      June 03, 2014, 10:08AM
      • South way to big and strong and never in doubt but the ref's were s**t it looks like we need 3 in the video room and one per player on the field or maybe we go back one on field and one video ref and put up with a mistake or two and just play league, just get rid of the show pony ref's please.

        Date and time
        June 03, 2014, 11:51AM
        • Saint, Manly sound like they will be ripe for picking even if you do have one of the biggest jnr areas in league.

          Date and time
          June 03, 2014, 12:06PM

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