MATCH REPORT: Rabbitohs 17 - Bulldogs 12

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have this afternoon been defeated by the South Sydney Rabbitohs 17-12 in front of an NRL record crowd of 51,686 fans at ANZ Stadium.


The crowd werent disappointed with a finals like match being played that resulted in the Rabbitohs scoring three tries to the Bulldogs two.

Coach Des Hasler said whilst the wins arent coming, he can see the positives coming out of each match.


Today was a pretty hard game of footy, Hasler said. They took their opportunities and grinded it out, thats just the way it panned out today.


It does make it hard (not getting the results), but weve played in some good games of footy we just have to find some ways to win.


It is only round four, we saw what Canberra did last year so a lot of changes will happen as this competition goes on.


It was the return of Ben Barba and Frank Pritchard and it was a fitting return for the fullback taking the first tackle of the match with a huge roar from the crowd.


The opening 10 minutes was played with great control from both sides with mistake free footy being played. It was not until a bad fifth tackle option from the Rabbitohs gave the Bulldogs their first real attacking chance in good field position.


Off the back of three sets of six it was the Bulldogs who opened their account first in the 14th minute through winger Mitch Brown. The last tackle kick was knocked on in the air by Nathan Merritt with Krisnan Inu grabbing the loose ball and keeping the ball alive. You couldve thought that the blue and whites didnt hear the six again call as they kept the ball alive. It went through the hands of Jackson and on to Ennis who crabbed across field and got it to Tony Williams who charged forward and as he was being brought to the ground got the arm free and with it the ball went out to Brown who burrowed over for the try. Inu brilliantly converted from the western touchline and the Bulldogs had the 6-nil lead.


Just six minutes before the break the Rabbitohs answered back through interchange forward George Burgess. After Captain Michael Ennis was knocked out a couple of plays earlier, it left a whole in and around the ruck in defence. With Ennis reeling, the Rabbitohs attack down the middle couldnt be contained and George Burgess shrugged off three defenders before crashing over. Adam Reynolds converted from just to the left of the uprights to level the score at 6-all.


The closing stages of the half were played with the Bulldogs on the attack but they couldnt turn it into points with scores level as the siren sounded for the break.


The second half started in the same way that the first did but on this occasion it was the Rabbitohs who opened the second half scoring. It was a pin-point kick from Reynolds who found Merritt on the left flank to send him over for his seventh try of the season. He couldnt convert his own try with the Rabbitohs now leading 10-6.


That lead was extended soon after off the back of Inu being placed on report. The Kiwi International was penalised for a lifting tackle on Greg Inglis with the match review committee due to critique the tackle in the coming days. From the next set of six the Rabbitohs again sent the ball to their left but this time it was former Bulldog Bryson Goodwin who went over to score his second try in the red and green colours. Reynolds converted to extend the lead out to 16-6.


Just moments later Reynolds confirmed the victory for the visitors when he slotted a field goal to take the lead out beyond two converted tries.


The match finished as it started with the ball in the hands of the returning Barba. Off a Josh Reynolds chip over the top he raced through to collect the ball and plant it down for his first try of season 2013. As the final siren sounded Inu converted and with the match finishing 17-12.


BULLDOGS (Brown, Barba Tries; Inu 2 Goals) RABBITOHS ( G Burgess, Merritt, Goodwin Tries; Reynolds 2 Goals; Reynolds 1 Field Goal)


At: ANZ Stadium


Crowd: 51,686