The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have clinched a tough 24-16 win over South Sydney Rabbitohs in their Round 1 NSW Cup clash at Belmore Sports Ground.
The Bulldogs were the first team on the board with a 4-pointer to young centre Eli Clark in the 16th minute. The home side were on the attack in the opposition quarter, spreading the ball out wide for Clark to take advantage of the overlap.
Souths Sydney hit back after an audacious around-the-back flick pass from former Bulldog Isaiah Tass let Izaac Thompson free to run down the left touch line to score. And only moments later in the 26th minute, Richard Kennar dived over in the right corner to grab the Rabbitohs a 8-6 lead.
A strong run from within the Bulldog's own half from centre Declan Casey opened up the South Sydney defence, the tearaway sprinting 60m down field to score behind the post.
Though it was the Rabbitohs who would have the last say of the first half after Maila Chan-Foon drew the match at 12-points a piece with the clock winding down to halftime.
Fullback Creedence Toia opened the scoring for the home side when play resumed for the second half. Sprinting through the Souths defence 15m out from the try line for the Bulldogs to take the lead 18-12.
A strong arm wrestle between both sides took place for much of the second half with each team afforded multiple attacking opportunities.
But it was a loose ball from the Rabbitohs attack that led Canterbury-Bankstown winger Jacob Kiraz to pounce, dribbling the ball ahead and regathering to score under the posts and close out the match 6 minutes from fulltime.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs claiming a gritty 24-12 win over the Rabbitohs in the opening round of the 2022 NSW Cup Season at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 (Tries: Creedence Toia, Declan Casey, Eli Clark, Jacob Kiraz; Goals: Kyle Flanagan 4) def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 (Tries: Izaac Thompson 2, Richard Kennar, Maila Chan-Foon)