NRL Round 15 – St George v South Sydney: Defence is optional…again

 

 

 

 

 

Rabbit in the Vineyard: 2023 NRL Round 15

 

Illawarra St George v South Sydney DRLFC,
Kogarah,
Saturday 10 June, 3pm

 

DEFENCE IS OPTIONAL, AGAIN …

Saturday afternoon footy, a suburban ground, third placed Souths take on sixteenth place Illawarra St George, after winning both the NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg fixtures earlier in the day.

Souths had the opportunity to live out the ‘next man up’ mantra, with Thomas Burgess, Jai Arrow, Cam Murray, Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Davvy Moale all sipping their coffees in the Kogarah grandstand.

Origin hopefuls Damien Cook and Campbell Graham had points to prove.

Souths scored early, through Richie Kennar diving over wide out.

From then, the Dragons continued a worrying recent trend, opposition teams breaking tackles, off-loading, making metres, and in the process, scored three unanswered tries.

The half time score, 12-8 to the Dragons, indicated a close game.

After the break, Souths’ defence continued to open up, with the Dragons piling on four more tries, to lead 36-14 with eight minutes remaining.

Somehow, Souths conjured a crazy finish to the game: Host, Ilias and Graham all scoring tries in consecutive minutes.

Those late tries added respectability to the scoreline, however there is no sugar coating three losses from the last four games, with the numbers in the ‘points against’ column increasing at an alarming rate:

Round 12 v Parramatta 16-36

Round 13: v Canberra 26-33

Round 14: v Titans 46-28

Round 15: v Dragons 30-36

133 points conceded in the past four games.

A thoroughly deserved win to Illawarra St George, and a full-time scoreline that did not reflect the Dragons’ dominance for most of the game.

 

 

The George Piggins-Mario Fenech inspirational play of the match: Blake Taaffe: being the unabashed fan I am, Taaffe, as always, played above his at times maligned playing weight. With fifteen minutes to go, trailing 14-24, he dived across the try line in typically ‘never say die’ fashion to potentially save yet another Dragons four pointer. Souths regained possession from the short drop out through Campbell Graham’s leap.

 

The Michael Andrews work rate award: Damien Cook and Hame Sele. Cook certainly had a point to prove to Fittler and the NSW selectors: he made 51 tackles, and 114m metres from dummy half, two line breaks and four tackle breaks. Sele, on the field for 56 minutes, had his usual dynamic impact in both attack and defence.

 

The Phil Blake ‘chip n chase’ best attacking moment: The returning Siliva Havili, with three defenders on him, popped a late off-load in the lead up to Jacob ‘Qantas’ Host’s try in the final minutes. Souths have missed Havili of late, as we did in the prelim final last year.

 

On to the Round 16 bye, then the North Queensland Cowboys, followed by the challenge of the vastly improved Warriors, in New Zealand.

 

Full time: Illawarra St George 36 d South Sydney DRLFC 30  

South Sydney’s points: tries: Kennar (8’), Koloamatangi (36’), Tass (53’), Host (76’), Ilias (77’), Graham (78’). Goals: Taaffe 3/6.

 

 

Round 15 R.I.T.V. player of the year points:

3- Damian Cook

2-  Hame Sele

1 – Campbell Graham

 

PROGRESSIVE R.I.T.V. PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS – LEADER BOARD:

11: Campbell Graham  

10: Cody Walker and Keon Koloamatungi

8: Latrell Mitchell

6: Hame Sele, Lachlan Ilias, and Junior Tetola

5: Thomas Burgess

4:  Damien Cook, Jai Arrow, Davvy Moale

3: Cameron Murray, Alex Johnston and Isaiah Tass

2: Taane Milne

1: Shaqai Mitchell, and Blake Taaffe

 

The Rabbit in the Vineyard, Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, South Australia

 

Russel Hansen

Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country.

He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships.

He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters.  

 

 

 

Read more from Rabbit in the Vineyard HERE.

 

Russel Hansen

Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country.

He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships.

He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters.  

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About Russel Hansen

Russel Hansen Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country. He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad (100m personal best 10.34secs) to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships. He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters. Twitter: @Russel_Hansen

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