Dogs finish strongly to down Rabbitohs
A strong second half from Canterbury – and a turbo-charged 80 minutes from five-eighth Josh Reynolds – has seen the Dogs finish all over the top of Souths in a convincing 24-9 Good Friday win.
Both teams struggled for ideas in attack but the spark from Reynolds was the difference, repeatedly causing the Rabbitohs' flimsy left-edge defence all manner of problems.
The team's composure also lifted when halfback Matt Frawley was injected in the 25th minute, pushing Moses Mbye to hooker and Michael Lichaa to the bench.
Another pair of huge efforts from props Aiden Tolman and James Graham provided the platform for Reynolds' second-half heroics while Souths are left searching for answers after being unable to capitalise on a series of attacking chances.
An extended, tentative feeling out period in the first 20 minutes of the match in which each side's defence was more than equal to the lacklustre attack of the other saw the scores level at 2-all courtesy of a pair of penalty goals.
The first try came when Souths fullback Alex Johnston showed blinding speed to show up Josh Reynolds then streak away from Brett Morris in the 29th minute.
Josh Reynolds immediately got his revenge, putting in a dedicated chase to his own grubber kick to ground a try as Johnston tried to shepherd the ball dead instead of taking the safe option.
Kerrod Holland shanked the conversion but levelled up shortly after through a second penalty kick with barely a minute until half time.
A bizarre passage of play shortly before half time saw Souths find a one-point lead at the break.
James Graham tried a pass to winger Marcelo Montoya from kick-off following the Holland penalty goal that could well have sent the rookie streaking into space but the pass went forward into touch giving Souths a final play before the siren.
Adam Reynolds calmly snapped a field goal from the last play of the half to earn his team a 9-8 advantage.
Souths had marginally the better of the opening stages of the second half and missed out on three tries in eight minutes.
First the bunker rightly overruled one to Bryson Goodwin for an obstruction by Robert Jennings and the same player was held up eight minutes later. In between a stunning try saver from Josh Reynolds on his namesake Adam Reynolds inches away from the Dogs' line saved a certain four-pointer.
The Bulldogs had fewer issues in attack when they finally got their chance and it all came from Josh Reynolds.
Another clean line break split Souths to set the scene for Josh Jackson to crash over in the 63rd minute before a deft inside ball from Graham sent Brett Morris screaming through a gap, allowing a supporting Mbye to fire a wide ball out to Holland to score in the corner and in the blink of an eye the Dogs went from 9-8 down to 20-9 ahead.
Souths lost another try for obstruction when John Sutton was pinged for standing in the Dogs' defensive line.
Canterbury's third try of the half came when Montoya brilliantly marked a towering bomb, offloading back to Tolman whose pass saw Josh Morris produce a slick grounding inside the left hand corner post and a 24-9 win.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24 (J Reynolds, Jackson, Holland, J Morris tries; Holland 4 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 9 (Johnston try; A Reynolds 2 goals; A Reynolds field goal) at ANZ Stadium. Half-time: Rabbitohs 9-8. Crowd: 35,984.