Bunnies burst Dragons' bubble - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bunnies burst Dragons' bubble

By Todd Balym 28/02/2009 11:53:07 PM Comments (0)

The Bennett bubble has burst with South Sydney claiming a 18-6 Charity Shield NRL trial victory over St George Illawarra at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

With two impressive trial wins under their belt since master coach Wayne Bennett took charge, the Dragons finally fell with a limp three tries to one loss in a worrying sign ahead of the NRL season start in two weeks.

The Rabbitohs dominated the game with five-eighth John Sutton having a hand in all tries, including the Dragons' four-pointer, as the red and whites failed to create much in attack.

Sutton combined with fullback Rhys Wesser to put winger Nathan Merritt across in the eighth minute for the first points of the game.

But Sutton and Wesser turned villains 11 minutes later as the Dragons levelled at 6-6.

Sutton's kick from his own 20m line was charged down by Dragons lock Beau Scott before Wesser, attempting to clean up the mess, fumbled the ball in goal allowing Scott the simplest of four-pointers.

Sutton appeared to hurt his leg early in the second half, but brushed aside the injury concern to grubber for Colin Best to score in the 45th minute.

Best added a second try 12 minutes later, storming onto a short pass from Sutton to effectively seal the result in a low-scoring affair.

The Dragons were twice denied a try in the second half, with recruits Jeremy Smith and Mickey Paea held up over the line by desperate Souths defence.

South Sydney coach Jason Taylor was pleased with his side's defensive effort, but knows their attack will have to improve for the season proper.

"We would want to be better in a couple of weeks time," he said.

"It was good for us to have that tough hit out and realise we cannot score every time we are down there.

"I was happy with what we did defensively. We have worked hard on it. We had some testing periods and they also let us off the hook a few times."

Despite the result and unflattering performance in attack Bennett was "not unhappy" with his side.

The new Dragons coach knows trial form or results mean little in the NRL season, noting that his former side Brisbane lost to a Queensland Cup outfit in last year's trials but still started the season strongly without skipper Darren Lockyer.

"(Trials) are something you should not beat yourself up about too much," said Bennett.

"I'm not sure if we needed it (a loss), but we got it.

"There's always room for improvement and tonight was no exception.

"We know where we are going and what we are trying to achieve.

"I was pleased with the effort and pleased that we stayed in it."

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