Rivalry Round Clashes: Rabbitohs v Dragons

South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons
Famous Matches


St George 12, Souths 8 at Sydney Cricket Ground, 1965 grand final

A record Sydney Cricket Ground crowd of 78,056 crammed into every conceivable vantage point to witness the battle between the perennial champions St George and a rising South Sydney side, coached by former Test forward Bernie Purcell.

It was the final game in the career of Dragons’ captain-coach Norm Provan and his inspiration proved pivotal to his team’s 12-8 victory. St George were acclaimed for winning their 10th successive premiership title but Souths were far from disgraced. Their young pack, which included John Sattler, John O’Neill, Bob McCarthy and Ron Coote, served notice that the Rabbitohs were an emerging force in the game.

Souths 13, St George 8 at Sydney Cricket Ground, 1967 major semi-final

It was the beginning of the end for the mighty St George side, whose 11-year reign as premiers was in its final throes. St George went into the semi-final without lock Johnny Raper and with five-eighth Brian Clay playing his first match after a knee operation. Despite being outscored two tries to one, the Rabbitohs claimed a 13-8 victory, thanks to the precision goalkicking of fullback Kevin Longbottom and winger Eric Simms. A fortnight later, the Dragons’ hopes of a 12th title disappeared when they fell 12-11 to Canterbury.

Souths 16, St George 10 at Sydney Cricket Ground, 1971 grand final

The two most famous clubs in rugby league produced a heart-stopping finale to the 1971 season when they battled out the grand final at the SCG. Souths led by the unusual score of 1-0 at halftime (the value of a field goal had been reduced to one point for the 1971 season), but justified their favouritism by skipping to an 11-0 lead after 65 minutes. Despite the gruelling nature of the match, St George were far from spent and surged back into the contest with two converted tries in rapid succession. At 11-10 play swung from one end of the field to the other until Souths lock Ron Coote cut through an opening and sent Bob McCarthy away for the match-winning try, two minutes from fulltime.

St George 17, Souths 10 at Kogarah Oval, Round 7, 1975

A top of the table clash between the traditional rivals was watched by a record Kogarah crowd of 23,582 in 1975. The match featured bruising defence from both forward packs and the early dismissal of Rabbitohs’ prop Harry Eden for a seemingly minor offence. Souths’ five-man pack fought hard to contain the Dragons but the loss of Eden’s front-row partner John O’Neill with a painful shoulder injury made the Rabbitohs’ task almost impossible. Saints led 8-0 early before a typical intercept try by Bob McCarthy brought Souths back into the contest. The undermanned Rabbitohs eventually succumbed to St George’s power and second-rower Barry Beath scored the match-winner after a period of sustained pressure.

Souths 25, St George Illawarra 24 at Sydney Cricket Ground, Round 4, 1999

Halfback Darrell Trindall played one of the great games of his career to lead Souths to a 25-24 victory over St George Illawarra in a nostalgic return to the Sydney Cricket Ground. Trindall scored two tries in the first half, set up another for centre Jason Nicol and landed a left-footed field goal to put the match beyond the Dragons’ reach. St George Illawarra led 18-8 at halftime, but collapsed alarmingly in humid conditions, committing a mountain of second-half handling errors and missed tackles.

Souths 41, St George Illawarra 6 at ANZ Stadium, Round 25, 2009

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St George Illawarra’s season of great expectations was in danger of imploding after they slumped to their third successive loss – a humiliating 41-6 defeat to South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

Dragons players were taunted as “chokers” by Rabbitohs fans in the crowd of almost 20,000 and coach Wayne Bennett admitted his concern after watching his team’s defensive resolve crumble.

Asked if his side was in a slump, Bennett said: “Next week will tell us that. If Friday night [against Parramatta] doesn’t bring something out in us, well, we’ve got ourselves a problem.”

The Rabbitohs scored three tries against an error-prone Dragons outfit to lead 19-6 at halftime and they surged away with four more after the break to bring up a record score against the joint venture club.

The Dragons committed a staggering 18 errors and completed only 17 of their 32 sets of possession. “It was embarrassing in the end, that’s the best way to sum it up,” said Dragons skipper Ben Hornby.

Halves John Sutton and Chris Sandow were stand-out performers for the Rabbitohs, whose most dominant performance of the season came too late to win them a place in the finals.