South Sydney won’t easily forget this clash – last year’s grand final qualifier looked set to be an NRL thriller until their halfback Adam Reynolds limped off midway through the opening half.
The two sides had traded tries early with Souths leading 8-4 when Reynolds was forced from the field and it turned the match on its head. After bombing two clear try-scoring opportunities, the Bulldogs took the lead back in the 36th minute through a Sam Perrett try, then added another right on half-time to take an unlikely 16-8 lead into the break.
The second half was all one-way traffic in Reynolds’ absence, with Perrett scoring his second after 53 minutes, Greg Eastwood and Frank Pritchard combining to go 70 metres not long after and then Eastwood scoring his own as the clock ticked down to zero.
In a flash, South Sydney’s season was over while the Bulldogs’ brilliant season saw them progress to a grand final showdown with Melbourne.
Canterbury completed 85 per cent of their sets against the Rabbitohs (to 71 per cent) and ran for a whopping 1740 metres, with outside backs Josh Morris (191 metres), Sam Perrett (182) and Krisnan Inu (184) all clocking big numbers.
Greg Inglis ran for 174 metres and produced four tackle-breaks for Souths, while Sam Burgess made 36 tackles.