Round 5 Review: Dragons v Rabbitohs

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It had the potential to be the best game of the round, however controversy around the obstruction rule once again marred a rugby league match. The St George Illwaraa Dragons were looking to have their first 5-0 start to a season since the merger as well as celebrating the 250th game for Jason Nightingale, while the Rabbitohs were looking to cement their spot in the top eight with an upset win.

The Dragons only made the one change to their line-ups, with the usual switch between Hame Sele and Jeremy Latimore on the bench. South Sydney lost Sam Burgess during the week, so his brother in George Burgess started and Jason Clark made it onto the bench.

Gareth Widdop and the Dragons were looking for a way to get on the board early, and they did their best Rugby Union impression with a penalty goal from 20 out, and 10 from the touchline to make it 2-0 after 3 minutes.

Nene MacDonald could have had a few tries to his name in the first half, with this first denied try in the 12th minute. Dane Gagai, amonsgt three or four Bunnies defenders did incredibly well to deny the winger from close to the line. He was then bundled into touch no more than a minute later with the line in sight before Euan Aitken managed to turn Greg Inglis around to score the first try.

Penalty goals were the way until the break, with the obstruction rule rearing its ugly head yet again. Originally going up as a try, the video referee deemed that Tariq Sims had made contact with Adam Reynolds which disadvantaged his opportunity to impact the play. This is despite the fact that Reynolds ended up missing the tackle that would've stopped MacDonald as he was able to get across to the sideline. In the end, a try originally was overturned and the papers will be all over it tomorrow. A penalty goal to the Bunnies on half-time gave the Dragons an 8-2 lead at the break.

The Dragons started the second half incredibly well, as Matt Dufty was sent over from a loose John Sutton pass that was scooped up by Ben Hunt. The conversion from Widdop was successful, as was the penalty goal a few minutes later to give the Dragons a 16-2 lead.

It would stay that way until the last 8 minutes, when the Bunnies would find a spark and light it up. Tries to Cody Walker and Greg Inglis off some fantastic build-up work allowed the Bunnies to have a sniff, but a missed conversion from Dane Gagai and some sloppy work in their final attacking sets allowed the Dragons to seal yet another win to stay undefeated in 2018.

The Dragons are now 5-0, taking on Cronulla next week in Wollongong while the Bunnies, who are now 2-3 take on the Roosters in Sydney.



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