Souths snap losing streak in style

On a history making night at the Sydney Cricket Ground, South Sydney snapped a three game losing streak with a dominant 26-6 win over the Dragons in front of 24,368 fans.

Rabbitohs skipper John Sutton overtook club legend Bob McCarthy as South Sydney's most-capped player in his 212th game, and also turned in his best performance of the season in his return to his more familiar five-eighth role.

His short kicks in particular troubled the Dragons all night, while the three Burgess brothers each played very strongly with Luke and Sam earning tries. Fullback Greg Inglis was a constant threat and the side's new hooking rotation – Apisai Koroisau and Cameron McInnes – proved a success as each laid on a try with great short balls from dummy half.

The Dragons were their own worst enemies in a performance riddled by lost ball and penalties as the Bunnies twice cashed in in the first half to take a 14-0 lead into the break.

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The big stat out of the half was the 7-1 penalty count in favour of Souths, which eventually resulted in a talking-to for frustrated Dragons captain Ben Creagh. It was one of those penalties that resulted in first points after 11 minutes as Souths opted to take the two points through the boot of Adam Reynolds.

It was a nod to the Dragons defence, a wall that was eventually breached in the 20th minute as promising rake Koroisau threw a short flat pass to a charging Luke Burgess, who crashed through the Dragons line at point blank range to stretch the lead to 8-0.

While most of the opening stanza was played in Dragons territory as their profligacy repeatedly handed the Bunnies attacking opportunities, they almost closed the gap to two when fullback Josh Dugan - in his first game back from a knee injury suffered against the Rabbitohs in the Charity Shield - fielded a Gareth Widdop chip kick and forced his way over.

However the referees noticed a suspect grounding and sent it upstairs where the video ref confirmed Dugan had lost it in the grounding.

It proved a critical turning point as what was nearly a two-point deficit became 14 as Souths marched downfield and Sutton chipped to Nathan Merritt's corner.

Centre Joel Reddy batted it back to Kyle Turner who patted it on to Jason Clark – another man playing his first NRL game of the year returning from injury – who burrowed over giving Adam Reynolds an easy shot at extending Souths' advantage to 14.

Despite the Dragons finally sparking into life in the 40th minute with some enterprising passing Souths hung on to take the 14-point gap into half-time.

The Dragons started brightly after the break with a couple of attacking raids but it was yet another penalty conceded that puts Souths on the attack for a McInnes short ball to send Sam Burgess crashing over in similar vein to his older brother running off Koroisau in the first half, putting Souths up 20-0 after 55 minutes.

Some more attacking play by the Dragons – including three repeat sets via goal line dropouts forced – still couldn't find a way through the impregnable Rabbitohs defence. Having soaked up all that pressure, South Sydney charged downfield where a brilliant dummy half dart from Koroisau allowed a Sutton short ball back inside to send Inglis on a charging run to the tryline.

There was never going to be a miracle comeback from 26-0 in the 68th minute but the Dragons at least earned a late consolation try through impressive forward Jack De Belin, who finished off a neat play started by hooker Mitch Rein to dive over from close range.

Dragons winger Brett Morris may remain locked with his father Steve on 102 tries for the Red V but was hugely impressive in a beaten side with some great defensive reads, including a classic try save on Nathan Merritt, and was a constant threat out wide.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 (L Burgess, Clark, S Burgess, Inglis tries, Reynolds 5 goals) def St George Illawarra Dragons 6 (De Belin try, Widdop goal). Crowd: 24,368.