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Rabbitohs shut out struggling Sharks

Rabbitohs shut out struggling Sharks

The Rabbitohs have proven to be just that little bit better than the Sharks on Monday night, winning their dour clash 18-0 at Remondis Stadium as Cronulla hooker John Morris played his 300th NRL game.

With 8137 fans keen to see the battling Sharks win their third game of the season, the Rabbitohs flexed their muscles without Origin trio Greg Inglis, Chris McQueen and Ben Te'o to secure their sixth win of the year.

With David Fifita ruled out after an injury in the warm-up and his brother Andrew on the shelf alongside Origin representatives Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis, the Sharks slumped to their ninth loss of the season, with the finals now looking out of reach.

With their win the Rabbitohs secured their first victory in Cronulla since 2010 thanks to the solid contributions of Dylan Walker and Sam Burgess, while George Burgess was also immense in the middle of the park.

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Although it wasn't to be for Cronulla in the end, the game was very competitive in the opening proceedings as both teams went very close to breaking the initial deadlock.

Sharks winger Sosaia Feki almost won the chocolates for the home side early while Rabbitohs young-gun Alex Johnston went agonisingly close to setting up Sam Burgess in the 15th minute, yet it was ruled that he went over the sideline.

Bryce Gibbs was miles offside when the video referees disallowed the first try of the match in the 19th minute, in what was a rare appearance past the tryline for the Sharks prop.

In what has been often the case for the Sharks this season, it would come back to haunt them a mere minute later as Rabbitohs lock Sam Burgess rampaged his way across the line with several defenders on his back for the 6-0 advantage.

With the match in tow and forwards Siosaia Vave and Jason Clark brushing off injury concerns, the game became a stalemate, although Junior Roqica entered the fray late in the half for his NRL debut, the 23-year-old a late inclusion for David Fifita after his warm-up mishap.

With four minutes left in the half, Johnston managed to run the length of the field to score what looked like the Rabbitohs second try of the evening. With the on-field referees on his side, the video referees ruled a double knock-on during the winger's exchange with Feki when contesting a Sharks bomb, bringing the play back for a Souths 20-metre tap.

Rabbitohs playmaker Adam Reynolds kicked a penalty goal in the dying stages of the half to ensure the Rabbitohs an 8-0 lead at half-time.

Deep in opposition territory after a controversial offside penalty was awarded to them, the Rabbitohs appeared to look the goods early in the second half until a poor fifth tackle option ricocheted off Jeff Robson's legs.

With no-one in sight, Robson picked up the scraps and pinned his ears back as he raced away towards the try-line. With the defence catching Robson attempted to alley-oop the ball to teammate Michael Gordon but the fullback couldn't hang on to it during a tough individual outing.

From there the Rabbitohs made the home-side pay in the 55th minute. With several defenders covering him, Joel Reddy produced a brilliant offload in his own half which saw the Rabbitohs race downfield thanks to Walker. With defenders in hot pursuit, Walker combined with his other centre Kirisome Auva'a, and after a slight bobble off his chest the speedster finished off the passage of play to extend the Rabbitohs' lead to 12.

Souths soon went in again through Cameron McInnes. The young hooker dived over from dummy-half in the 63rd minute for his first ever NRL try and while the Sharks made a late flurry with minutes remaining in the game, it amounted to nothing in what was another unhappy night for Cronulla fans.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 (McInnes, S. Burgess, Auva'a Tries; Reynolds 3 Goals) Cronulla Sharks 0 at Remondis Stadium. Crowd: 8137.
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