Bunny mauling not enough: Dogs' coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bunny mauling not enough: Dogs' coach

By Todd Balym 06/04/2007 11:08:07 PM Comments (0)

The Bulldogs' 34-10 mauling of South Sydney at Telstra Stadium was enough to rip the heart out of the Rabbitohs' fairytale 2007 NRL season start, but coach Steve Folkes believes his side should have utterly humiliated the Bunnies.

Chasing their fourth consecutive win to start the season, South Sydney started the better but were overpowered by the Dogs who ran out five tries to two victors in front of 34,315 fans, the largest NRL crowd for a regular season game at Homebush.

It ended South Sydney's best start to the season since 1971, when they won four on the trot, and put a dose of reality on the NRL's richest club's return to on-field success.

Despite the lopsided scoreline Folkes believed his side failed to put away the Bunnies in a way they should as premiership heavyweights.

"Even though we won I think we can do better than that," said Folkes.

"I thought we were okay. But still we had the nail in the coffin a few times and did not hammer them in.

"It's a bit disappointing we did not put them away.

"I thought our defence was outstanding ... I don't think we gave them too many opportunities."

The Rabbitohs led 6-0 after 13 minutes thanks to a David Peachey try but from that point on the Bulldogs dominated, two Trent Cutler tries to end the first half handing the visitors a 14-6 buffer at the break.

The gap could have been greater but Andrew Ryan was denied two tries in two minutes, the first after referee Shayne Hayne ruled Peachey had knocked on after a tackle had been completed and the second when the second-rower fumbled a difficult grubber opportunity.

South Sydney rallied briefly in the second half but replacement Kane Cleal put the Dogs well clear when he barrelled over barely touched in the 57th minute and Daryl Millard had the Dogs barking when he scored out wide in the 62nd minute.

Hazem El Masri completed his perfect night, which included three sideline conversions, with a try in the 70th minute after Millard threw the pass of the season behind his back as he was falling into the winger's arms.

Souths winger Nathan Merritt added a touch of brilliance to the Bunnies dour night when he chipped and chased on halfway to score in the 80th minute.

Bunnies coach Jason Taylor refused to criticise his team too strongly afterwards, content last year's wooden spooners had won three of the first four and would now be relieved of the growing hype surrounding their revival.

But Taylor added the success this season rests on their ability to come back from the tough defeat.

"We were a long way from where we have been the last few weeks but that happens in this game," said Taylor.

"How we respond to this is what makes us. How we respond as individuals and as a team will determine how the season goes for us.

"We are very happy with the fact we have got three wins from four games.

"We were going to lose eventually.

"It's nice when everyone wants to talk about the club when you're doing well but also it'll be nice to turn up to training with a lot less media."

Sonny Bill Williams laughed off his injury concern - where he lay prone on the ground for almost a minute on the hour following a head knock he copped from winger Nathan Merritt - and is in no doubt for next Saturday's game against Manly.

Merritt aggravated a shoulder complaint in scoring his final try but is in no doubt for next Sunday's clash with Newcastle, however other winger Paul Mellor suffered a lower back injury and struggled to walk after the game.

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