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St George Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs: 6 things we learned

A fast-finishing South Sydney outfit struck just as the Dragons looked to be counting the competition points, snatching a famous 26-24 win from nowhere.

While most of the watching public, including this scribe who’d completed two-thirds of a post-match article, had given up the ghost, the South Sydney Rabbitohs turned on the afterburners to roar home and bank a win that will live long in the memory books.

Trailing 24-14 with five minutes on the clock, veteran John Sutton grabbed a rare four-pointer to edge things closer, with Adam Reynolds knocking over the two to set up a grandstand finish, but few could have predicted what happened next.

Another veteran in Bryson Goodwin crossed down the left edge and handed Adam Reynolds, one of the best goal kickers in the game the chance to win it.

He made no mistake.

  1. 1 Souths are immeasurably better with Damien Cook on the field

    I've been critical of Robbie Farah plenty of times this season, and I stand by the fact that he has been nowhere near good enough for the Bunnies, as a leader or as a play director on the field, but can someone please tell me how Damien Cook doesn't play 80 minutes each week?

    His speed and creativity out of dummy half are so much more valuable to the Rabbitohs than most people realise and the fact we have gotten to this point in the season with time still being split between the pair is laughable.

    Michael Maguire, a coach who is starting to come under some criticism for the fall from grace of the Bunnies since 2014, needs to make the tough call and put Farah out to pasture.

  2. 2 Adam Reynolds is clutch

    There are certain players in the competition who relish the pressure and the spotlight of a match-winning opportunity but few are as adept to rising to the occasion than South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds.

    With a career kicking percentage of 84%, he doesn't miss often. With the game on the line and the ball on the tee just millimetres from the chalk of the left sideline, he did not miss the one that counted against St George, putting his side ahead by two with minutes left on the back of a crisp finish from veteran winger Goodwin.

    He's been there before, but could Reynolds be the man New South Wales are crying out for in the Origin arena?

  3. 3 Widdop crucial to Dragons structure

    Shock! Horror!

    The Dragons look better with Gareth Widdop on the field than without him. It's not breaking news, but it's important to remember just how good Widdop is at playing within the framework Paul McGregor and the Dragons adopt. He is crucial in creating opportunities, with ball in hand and through kicks, for his outside backs.

    Widdop is the conduit through which almost all good things travel for the Dragons and he's very much the reason why the side will be a contender once the finals come around.

  4. 4 Dragons running on fumes in race for finals footy

    There was a time this season where the Dragons looked to be a certainty for a top four finish.

    Paul Vaughan, Jack de Belin and Russell Packer were making yards at will, Widdop looked like a superstar pivot while Josh McCrone looked his able deputy in the halves - that feels like a lifetime ago now.

    After losing to the Knights in controversial circumstances last week the points dramatically slipped away against the Bunnies.Things are looking tough for the Dragons, who are trying to fend off the fast-finishing Panthers at the bottom of the eight.

  5. 5 Friday night footy should NOT kick off at 6pm

    Ok, this isn't something we learned tonight, but are the NRL serious?

    Whether you're a Bunnies fan, of a Dragons persuasion, or a neutral, wedging any game in this time slot is annoying. But playing a game that could have cracked 25,000 easily enough in the sunshine on Sunday afternoon, with full nostalgia in effect, when most people in Sydney were driving home at the end of their working week is madness.

    The Sydney Cricket Ground is a grand old venue, and it looks immeasurably better bathed in sunshine on a late afternoon than it does under floodlights with more empty seats than you could count across the full 80 minutes.

    The NRL need to ditch this time slot quickly.

  6. 6 Goodwin a good one

    He's never been one to get much fanfare or praise but it's fair to say Goodwin has been a genuinely good winger and a solid try-scorer for a long time now. Perhaps he's been a little underestimated.

    He's not a superstar, that's for sure, but Goodwin has done his job week in, week out and once the ball was in his hands in the dying minutes tonight, you simply got the feeling he wasn't going to make any mistake in getting the ball over the line and planted cleanly.

    What were your highlights from the Bunnies' fast finish against the Dragons? Let us know in the comments below.

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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

St George Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs: 6 things we learned

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