The Bulldogs have been defeated this afternoon in a thriller against South Sydney 28-20 in their first trial match of 2014.
A strong crowd of 5,913 were in attendance for the annual Back to Belmore clash at Belmore Sports Ground.
It was all Bulldogs in the first 10 minutes of the match. Some good field position from Canterbury saw Sam Kasiano held up over the line after a strong charge.
The Rabbitohs finally got the ball back, but gave up possession twice, and then after six minutes, Drury Low went over for a try after some simple hands created an overlap. “
The defence from the home side was strong, picking up Souths veteran Nathan Merritt and driving him back 10 metres. The Rabbits just couldn’t hold possession, knocking on twice inside their 40m line.
Monstrous 2nd rower Tony Williams started a great play, passing to Mitch Brown who tried to go over the line on the left wing, before giving a miracle offload to Morris who went over. However the ref called it back for a forward pass.
The Rabbitohs had three consecutive sets on the Bulldogs try line and finally scored their first try after Beau Champion crossed the line in the 18th minute.
Big men, Sam Kasiano, Aiden Tolman and Greg Eastwood all got a rest with 20 minutes to go. Krisnan Inu replaced Josh Morris, and Drury Low moved to fullback for Sam Perrett.
Back from the water break and it was all Canterbury, the home side forcing a drop out before Tim Browne thought he had scored an easy try. Unfortunately it was called back for obstruction.
Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds combined in a back line play, which saw Merrit give Dylan Walker a beautiful pass to score. Reynolds converted to take Souths to a 10-4 lead.
The Bulldogs kicked out on the full from the restart and Souths capitalized. Adam Reynolds combined with Beau Champion who passed to Alex Johnston who went over, but the referee called it back for a forward pass.
Sam Kasiano came back on with 8 minutes to go in the first half and the Bulldogs were winning the battle of field position. Krisnan Inu drew a penalty and the Dogs crashed over the try line the very next set through ‘dogzilla’ Kasiano.
Trent Hodkinson converted the try to level the scores 10-10.
With a minute to go in the first half, Adam Reynolds put a cheeky grubber through to Luke Keary who put the ball down unchallenged, however the sideline official informed the referee that Keary was offside. The scores level at half time.
Three minutes after half time, new recruit Tyrone Phillips made a wonderful line-break that led to a repeat set for the Bulldogs. The Rabbits couldn’t hold on any longer and promising young front rower Lloyd Perrett crashed over for a try. The conversion attempt was successful and the home side led 16-10.
A knock on from the re-start gave Souths some much needed field position, before Dylan Walker crossed for a try in the 47th minute. Another try eight minutes later to Cameron McInnes, with Walker adding the extras to make it 22-16.
The new laws were tested after Souths kicked a 40/20. The Bulldogs defenders were unaware of the tap restart option and were penalised for being offside.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, new recruit Chase Stanley made a 50m break down the right side but the Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of it.
Rabbits centre Beau Champion thought he’d crossed over for a try in the 64th minute but it was deemed to have gone forward before it landed into his hands. The Dogs quickly hit back with a try to winger Corey Thompson after a beautiful line break from five eighth Pat Templeman.
With seven minutes to go, the Rabbitohs scored through a try to replacement Chris Centrone. Dylan Walker converted from the sideline to take the away side 8 points clear.
The Bulldogs tried to rally near fulltime, pressuring right up until the end but eventually couldn’t come back. Souths finished 28-20 winners.