The first hat-trick of Damien Cook's career led the Rabbitohs to a 36-16 win over the Bulldogs at Accor Stadium on Good Friday.
Cook's triple treat and a double to winger Alex Johnston were the cornerstone of the Rabbitohs' third win of the season.
In the early stages it was the Bulldogs doing all the attacking and they opened the scoring in the 15th minute when halfback Kyle Flanagan delivered a perfectly timed pass over the top for Brent Naden to cross in the right hand corner. The halfback's sideline conversion made it 6-0.
Six minutes later the Bulldogs threatened to extend their lead but Braidon Burns was held up over the line.
The Rabbitohs were also denied in the 25th minute when Kaeon Koloamatangi was pulled up for obstruction in the lead-up to Josh Mansour crossing.
The Bulldogs went a man down in the 27th minute when Jeremy Marshall-King was sin binned and it took the Rabbitohs just three minutes to capitalise when Damien Cook got over from dummy half.
Cook splits them
A break by Campbell Graham then set up Cook for a second try in the space of three minutes and the Rabbitohs were out to a 12-6 lead.
Skipper Cameron Murray, five-eighth Cody Walker and fullback Blake Taaffe then combined on the right edge to put prolific winger Alex Johnston across for the 139th try of his career.
Johnston made it a double early in the second half courtesy of a Walker try assist before Naden was denied a double of his own when he was ruled to have knocked the ball on into Taaffe before regathering and touching down.
Flanagan puts it on a platter for Naden
With 14 minutes to play, Cook completed the first hat-trick of his 153-game career when he picked the ball up at the back of the scrum and caught the Bulldogs defence napping.
The Bulldogs refused to lie down and were rewarded with a try to Josh Addo-Carr, who has now scored 14 tries in 11 games against the Rabbitohs.
Mackay product Isaiah Tass then put the icing on the cake for the Bunnies with a try on debut as the score blew out to 36-10 before Jeremy Marshall-King grabbed a late consolation try for the Bulldogs.
Among the many positives for the Rabbitohs was the form of halfback Lachlan Ilias in just his seventh carere game, while Koloamatangi and Murray were immense in the forward exchanges.
Match: Rabbitohs v Bulldogs
Round 6 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
- Rabbitohs back-rower Jai Arrow took the field sporting a bandage on his cheek after spending the week in hospital with an infected cut. The bandage lasted little more than one tackle and by the 25th minute he was forced to leave the field as the cheek swelled up.
- Jeremy Marshall-King was sin binned in the 27th minute after referee Gerard Sutton lost patience with the Bulldogs' repeated infringements.
- Bulldogs forwards Chris Patolo and Josh Jackson were involved in a sickening head clash as they attempted to make a tackle. Patolo left the field for a HIA while Jackson had a cut cleaned up, donned some headgear and battled on bravely to make 53 tackles.
- The Rabbitohs have won nine of their past 10 games at Accor Stadium.
- Liam Knight provided plenty of impact off the bench for the Rabbitohs with 21 runs for 202 metres in 42 minutes of game time.
- Fullback Matt Dufty enjoyed his best game of the season for the Bulldogs with 19 runs for 183 metres with eight tackle breaks.
Play of the Game
Lachlan Ilias continues to develop nicely in the No.7 jersey for Souths and he played a leading hand in Damien Cook's second try. The 21-year-old delivered a perfectly timed pass to put Campbell Graham into a hole on the right edge and the centre raced 20 metres before finding hooker Damien Cook backing up on the inside to complete the second try double of his career.
Cook goes back to back
What They Said
"The Dogs came at us pretty hard and were getting some joy early and I thought the resilience to stay at it, get our way back into the game and get into the things that worked for us was pretty special. I think Hame Sele and Liam Knight were outstanding off the bench, they played a big part in what Cooky was able to do off the back of that." - Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou
South Sydney Rabbitohs
"The sin binning [of Marshall-King] was a tough one but in saying that you just have to roll your sleeves up and get through those periods. You'll never play a perfect game of footy ever, pleasing with the first 20 minutes, we've stuck it to some good sides for periods but not for long enough. Couple of tries there that just shouldn't be scored and we've got to stop them. If you stop them, you're still in the hunt." - Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
The Rabbitohs are at CommBank Stadium on Saturday for a clash with Wests Tigers, who they beat twice in 2021... easily in round 16 at Leichhardt Oval and not so easily in a golden point classic decided by a Tom Burgess try at Stadium Australia in round six.
The Bulldogs travel to Suncorp Stadium to face Brisbane for the second time this season having gone down 16-10 in a tight game at Accor Stadium in round two.