NRL Round 24 – South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons: A win is a win is a win

 

 

South Sydney DRLFC v Illawarra-St George
Barlow Park, Cairns
Saturday 12 August, 3:00pm

 

THE LATE SEASON SURGE UPDATE: ‘A WIN IS A WIN, IS A WIN’

 

Another cool August Saturday in the Barossa.

Once again, the fire was lit early afternoon and was required well into the evening as the Matildas took on France at Brisbane Stadium.

The game day lamb pie from the historic Tanunda Apex Bakery was a great winter warmer.

After the disappointing display in Perth last week, Souths took on the 16th placed Dragons in Cairns.

Souths came away with an unconvincing but important win, four tries to three.

Alex Johnston scored twice to take his career tally to one hundred and eighty-seven, just three tries behind second placed Billy Slater.

‘Magic’ opened the scoring after only ten minutes, however, Souths allowed the Dragons straight back into the contest after errors and poor defence gifted the hulking Mikaele Rawalawa a try in the right corner.

Campbell Graham scored an important try just after half-time.

In a sequence we have seen far too often since Round 11, Ben Hunt scored for the Dragons two minutes later, the game in the balance at 14-10.

A moment of brilliance from Latrell and Cody saw the Origin 3 Man of the Match score to open a ten point lead.

As is the case each round in the NRL, there was Bunker controversy around the try with suggestions Latrell was offside.

Johnston scored his second try to increase the winning margin, however, the team performance bore little resemblance to the early season wins over the sides now in the top four.

 

NSW Cup:

Earlier in the day, the Souths Reserve grade team had a convincing 50-12 win over St George at Redfern Oval.

The departing Blake Taaffe showed Bulldogs fans what to expect in 2024 and 2025 with a typically dynamic display.

Halfback Dean Hawkins, rumoured to be Penrith-bound, was also dominant.

With the Souths NRL side struggling to recapture their early season form when they were on top of the ladder and premiership favourites, the NSW cup team, by contrast, look great at this time of the season.

 

The Tony Rampling-Les Davidson tackle of the week:

In a game lacking any real bone-jarring defence, Lachlan Ilias, for all the criticism he cops from some quarters, defended well, as did Jai Arrow and Shaquai Mitchell.

In the post-match press conference, coach Demetriou suggested the team were not far off their best form.

For the team to recapture their best form before it is too late, defence still needs to improve markedly.

Over the years, hard-nosed, old-school coaches such as Warren Ryan and Wayne Bennett have emphasised that defence is about attitude.

What will we see attitude-wise in Newcastle on Sunday when Ponga and company are on the attack?

 

The Mario Fenech-George Piggins inspirational play (er) of the day:

During this disappointing chapter of the season, when given opportunity, Tallis Duncan has continued to be a shining light. The young gun has footwork and plays above his weight in defence.

Described by some as a “Cam Murray clone”, Duncan could do worse than continue to develop in the mould of the captain.

 

The Michael Andrews work rate award:

A great return to the NRL side, as a starting prop, for Shaquai Mitchell. He just rolls his sleeves up and works!

Much has been made of his story, the weight loss, the hard work and the journey to first grade. The big fella plays like a man who is grateful for each minute he is on the field for the Rabbitohs.

 

The Phil Blake ‘chip n chase’ best attacking moment:

Latrell, with a seemingly favourable call from the Bunker, sets up a try for his mate Cody Walker at a crucial time in the match to establish a ten point lead.

https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/nrl-2023-south-sydney-rabbitohs-v-st-george-illawarra-dragons-live-blog-video-teams-injuries-stats-jai-arrow-moses-suli/news-story/aecaf607e4342dda213abb5283525230

The Leyland Brothers tour now shifts to Newcastle for the Sunday afternoon clash with the very much in-form Knights, coming off their sixth consecutive win.

 

Full time:  South Sydney DRLFC 26 d Illawarra-St George 14

South Sydney’s points: tries – Johnston 10’, Graham 42’, Walker 50’, Johnston 71’. Goals: Latrell 5/5. Half time: Souths 8-4

 

Crowd: 8,378. Barlow Park, Cairns.

Remaining 2023 games:

Round 25 v Newcastle, Newcastle Sunday 20 August 2pm

Round 26 BYE

Round 27 v Eastern Suburbs, Friday 1 September, Sydney Olympic Stadium, 8pm

 

Highlights:

https://www.nrl.com/news/2023/08/12/rabbitohs-v-dragons—round-24-2023/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=onebox

 

NSW cup highlights:

https://fb.watch/moejm-oxxw/

 

Round 23 R.I.T.V. player of the year points:

3- Shaquai Mitchell

2- Jai Arrow

1 – Alex Johnston

 

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

12: Campbell Graham

11: Jai Arrow and Cameron Murray

10: Hame Sele, Cody Walker and Keon Koloamatungi

9: Jai Arrow, Blake Taaffe and Junior Tetola

8: Latrell Mitchell

6: Lachlan Ilias

5: Alex Johnston and Thomas Burgess

4: Shaquai Mitchell, Isaiah Tass, Damien Cook and Davvy Moale

2: Tallis Duncan, Savili Havili, and Taane Milne

1: Tyrone Munro

 

 

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 PB 10.24secs) 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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