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Jersey Flegg Cup: Dragons go down in seesawing heartbreaker

The Dragons suffered a 20-18 defeat to the Rabbitohs in a back-and-forth Jersey Flegg Cup clash at Redfern Oval on Saturday afternoon.

The two sides traded blows throughout the contest before Jesse Williams looked to have snatched victory late for the Red V only for a forward pass call to deny the try-scoring ace as Aaron Hertsch’s men fell agonisingly short of the two competition points.

Ben Rumble injected himself into the contest early snatching an attacking Rabbitohs kick out of the air in slips fashion on his own try-line before motoring downfield and into opposition territory.

The Red V drew first blood soon after through second rower Jack Quine who found space running an unders line off Ashton Ward and swerved past the cover to dive over to the right of the sticks.

The visitors went within inches of their second the following set after a rampaging Nick Tsougranis found Tyler Peckham-Harris with a superb offload to spark a raid from inside their own half only for a supporting Ben Lavender to be dragged down short of the stripe.

They again went perilously close to adding to their lead after a nice exchange of passing between middles Finau Latu and Jett Liu only for ball to go to ground at the final stages.

It was instead the Rabbitohs who were next to strike with centre Carson Kaho finding space down the left corridor to dive over off back-to-back set restarts.

The Red V responded through Tsougranis who this time charged through a hole off some sharp Peckham-Harris ball-playing to make it 10-6 with Ward’s conversion scraping the left upright and missing.

The seesawing nature of the encounter continued with right winger Dane Towns skying to reel in a fifth-tackle kick and tie proceedings at 10-apiece.

Tsougranis was placed on report and binned for an altercation just shy of half-time with Zane Rugless crossing off the back of it to put the Rabbitohs ahead 14-10.

The second stanza was halted by an extended stoppage as Aiden Doolan was helped from the field for a HIA.

Back-to-back Jacob Webster charges earnt the Red V some ascendancy with Rumble sending a powerful Cyrus Stanley-Traill over off the back of it down the left-hand corridor to tie things up.

Kaho grabbed his second soon after out of dummy-half to wrestle the lead back the way of the hosts.

Peckham-Harris earnt his side a repeat set with a deft kick soon after before the No.6 sent a bouncing cut-out the way of Nick Quinn – who had come into the game in place of an injured Lavender – to score down the left flank.

Ward’s conversion attempt cannoned into the left upright and out as the Red V remained behind by two.

Williams was denied the potential match-winner in the dying stages with officials ruling that Ward’s final pass had drifted forward as the Rabbitohs held on for the win.

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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