Rabbitohs beat Bulldogs in Good Friday thriller
The South Sydney Rabbitohs scored two tries in the final seven minutes to secure a controversial come-from-behind 20-16 victory against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the traditional Good Friday clash at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs paid the price for poor ball security throughout a match they largely controlled, failing to close out the match despite several opportunities to put the Bunnies to bed.
After a weekend highlighted by contentious refereeing, the trend continued on Friday afternoon after Ben Cummins apologised to Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson for not allowing him time to return to the defensive line following an official warning for repeated penalties against his side.
Greg Inglis capitalised on the hole in the defensive line to score out wide in the first half, and in the end the four-pointer to the Rabbitohs skipper proved the difference between the two teams in front of a crowd of 32,471 at ANZ Stadium.
''I'm sorry Josh, I didn't realise,'' Cummins said at the time when the Bulldogs led 12-6.
It was a climactic finish to what was a rather stop-start affair, with Hymel Hunt and Cameron Murray scoring for South Sydney to help them overcome an early 12-0 deficit.
Match: Rabbitohs vs Bulldogs
Venue: ANZ Stadium
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The Bulldogs had to do it without their best player over the opening three weeks of the season after Moses Mbye's afternoon ended five minutes into the contest.
Mbye clashed heads with Roberts Jennings while making a try-saving tackle on the Rabbitohs winger and the pair played no further part in the match.
It was a game riddled with errors and penalties, with the referees not shying away from blowing penalties, as has been the case throughout the opening month of the season.
The Morris brothers combined for the opening two tries of the afternoon, with Brett the provider on both occasions.
The first came off a cross-field kick from Jeremy Marshall-King, with Brett tapping down to his brother for an early lead.
A pin-point accurate pass from Will Hopoate put Brett into open space soon after, drawing the fullback to put Josh over for his second try of the afternoon.
The Bulldogs should have been 14 points ahead at that point, however an inexcusable missed conversion attempt from Kieran Foran right in front of the post left the halfback red-faced.
Somehow he managed to kick the ball under the cross-bar, but made no mistake just before half-time when he slotted over a penalty goal from a similar position.
But it wasn't long before the Rabbitohs were awarded a controversial try to Inglis, with Jackson out of position having just been called out by referee Cummins.
To compound things for Canterbury, it came after the referees changed a knock-on call against Rabbitohs back-rower John Sutton to a penalty against the Bulldogs, despite replays suggesting the original call may have been the correct one.
The Bulldogs lost some depth in the engine room when prop Aiden Tolman limped off in the first half with a leg injury and didn't return.
Canterbury went into the break holding a 14-6 lead, but the deficit was soon reduced to just four points when Souths winger Braidon Burns dived over in the corner following another series of repeat penalties from Canterbury.
The game looked like it would swing in favour of the Bulldogs when Sam Burgess was penalised coming off his own line for a forearm on Josh Morris, but the Rabbitohs managed to keep their opponents to just one penalty goal in the second half - storming home to seal their second win of the season.