Rabbitohs rack up 26-16 win over Sharks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rabbitohs rack up 26-16 win over Sharks

By Philip Henderson 31/03/2007 09:49:44 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney's stunning NRL resurgence showed no signs of stalling as they downed Cronulla 26-16 on Saturday night to give the Rabbitohs their best start to a season in 35 years.

Winger Nathan Merritt bagged a double as Souths capitalised on a near perfect first half at Toyota Park to claim their third straight win to begin 2007.

It is the first time since 1972 the Bunnies have opened with three straight victories, with the 2006 wooden spooners now well-entrenched near the top of the table midway through the third round.

Souths raced to a 16-0 lead after 19 minutes, and took a 20-4 advantage into the break, before keeping Cronulla at arms length throughout the second stanza.

Livewire winger Merritt and fullback David Peachey, both former Sharks, provided the excitement for the Bunnies in the opening half, with Merritt's 80-metre solo effort - his second try - one of the highlights.

Merritt darted out from dummy half on his own 20-metre line, slipped through some weak Sharks defence, and then outpaced fullback David Simmons in a mad dash to the tryline.

Peachey, David Kidwell and Daniel Irvine also scored tries for Souths, with Irvine's four-pointer midway through the first half also brilliant.

With his side up 10-0, Souths skipper Peter Cusack busted through some meek defence and charged 40 metres before passing to Peachey, who then cleverly flicked the ball to Rabbitohs hooker Irvine, who scored.

Luke Covell, Isaac De Gois and Fraser Anderson added tries for the Sharks, but the home side never looked like challenging the Rabbitohs for the win.

The Sharks lost five-eighth Adam Dykes (foot) and centre Ben Pomeroy (bruised hip) to injury before kickoff, but Lance Thompson, who had been in doubt with a knee injury, was ruled fit to play and was arguably the home side's best performer.

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