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Big guns fire as Rabbitohs dominate Charity Shield

South Sydney's representative stars stole the show on Saturday afternoon in Mudgee, as the Rabbitohs won an entertaining Charity Shield game 42-24 over the Dragons. 

Blues representatives Damien Cook and Cameron Murray combined to do much of the damage through the opening 40 minutes, setting up three of their side's four first-half tries, while Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Jai Arrow all scored to give the Rabbitohs a 26-0 lead at the break. 

Up 32-0 early in the second half, the Rabbitohs looked on track to run up the biggest winning margin in Charity Shield history, before a much-improved effort from the Dragons saw them outscore South Sydney 24-16 in the second half. 

Burgess opens the scoring

It didn't take long for St George Illawarra's weaknesses to be exposed in the 36-degree heat at Glen Willow Oval, and along with their leaky defence a major concern will be the confidence of young fullback Tyrell Sloan, who in between some good moments on attack made four errors at the back. 

Mbye sneaks over

Despite the end scoreline, South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou, who rested most of his big names for the final 15 minutes, will likely look back with some concern at a sloppy second half which saw his team make six errors and give up four tries. 

The win sees the Rabbitohs reassume the overall lead in the Charity Shield standings, with 18 wins to the Dragons' 17, and five draws between the two sides. 

Match snapshot

  • Cameron Murray had two try assists and two line breaks inside the opening 40 minutes, with Damien Cook his key partner in crime, laying on two line breaks and setting up a try in the first half. 
  • A week on from helping the Indigenous All Stars to victory over their Māori counterparts, Cody Walker scored two tries. 
  • The temperature hit 36 degrees before kick-off in Mudgee, triggering the introduction of drinks breaks 20 minutes into each half.
  • After trailing 26-0 at the break, St George Illawarra won the second half 24-16.  

Souths left side looking dangerous

  • Despite the victory, South Sydney made 11 errors, missed 33 tackles and completed at just 70 percent.
  • The Dragons offloaded 16 times in the match to South Sydney's seven.
  • A break through the middle involving both Cook and Murray ended with Thomas Burgess opening the scoring seven minutes into the game, with Latrell Mitchell converting. 
  • The NRL's top try-scorer from last year, Alex Johnston, turned provider for the next, setting up Cody Walker, before the Dragons compounded the issue by kicking the restart out on the full. 
  • Mathew Feagai looked to have scored the Dragons' first on 20 minutes, but it was called back for a forward pass. 

Bunnies in control

  • Mitchell scored the next six points, crossing after Cook put him into a huge gap and then converting from in front, before adding a penalty right on half time to send his side into the sheds up 26-0. 
  • Davvy Moale got things going again just five minutes into the second period, before the Dragons enjoyed their strongest period in the match. 

Moale making moves in Mudgee

  • Consecutive tries to Moses Mbye and Jayden Sullivan, followed by another later on to Feagai, all of which were converted by Zac Lomax, reduced the deficit to 32-12 with 20 minutes to go. 
  • Walker then added his second, along with a try for Jacob Gagai, but it was new signing Jacob Liddle who had the final say for the Dragons. 

Sullivan grabs another one for the Dragons

Play of the Game

A try sure to have Rabbitohs fans feeling excited about Round 1, as two of their key men combined for a try which they made look easy. Damien Cook intelligently targeted a sloppy Dragons line directly off a scrum, putting Latrell Mitchell into a wide open gap.   

Mitchell and Cook too good

What's Next

The Rabbitohs now prepare for their season-opener against the Sharks, who they knocked out of last year's finals series, while the Dragons, who finish the 2023 Pre-season Challenge without a win, have an extra week to prepare due to having the bye in Round 1. 

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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