Inglis the star as Souths end Sharks winning streak
Greg Inglis turned in his best performance for the Rabbitohs at fullback with three tries and some match saving tackles to guide the side to a 34-28 victory over the Sharks at ANZ Stadium.by NRL
Greg Inglis turned in his best performance for the Rabbitohs at fullback with three tries and some match saving tackles to guide the side to a 34-28 victory over the Sharks at ANZ Stadium. Nathan Merritt also proved his scoring capabilities with a double.
Sam Burgess recovered earlier than expected from his knee injury and was named on the bench. Sharks captain Paul Gallen was also in doubt with a quad strain but passed a late fitness test.
For the second week in a row Inglis was the first to cross with a sensational try. Paul Gallen was put on report for a knee to Dave Taylor in the play the ball and from the ensuing penalty Greg Inglis palmed off Todd Carney and Ben Pomeroy to drag two Sharks player over the try-line and score in the 5th minute.
The Sharks tied the scores in the 11th minute when Carney skipped past the Rabbitohs defenders from a scrum and converted his own try.
Inglis was causing all sorts of problems for the visitors and he nearly had Souths ahead again after a quick restart. Catching the Sharks off guard he galloped down the field before dishing to Farrell who was dragged down 30 metres out. South Sydney couldn't score from the opportunity but there was already a sense of a special performance looming from the fullback.
17 minutes into the half Merritt stole a Gallen pass, and the lead, as he raced 50m to dot the ball down next to the posts. The conversion by Reynolds pushed the home side out to a 12-6 lead.
Matt King was put on report for a high tackle on fullback Matthew Wright but it appeared Wright slipped as he was tackled. The Sharks had several early chances but couldn't hold onto the ball with Colin Best spilling a great chancier the 21st minute.
A strong run and offload by Eddy Pettybourne to Greg Inglis, who skipped through untouched, put the Rabbitohs up 18-6 after 27 minutes. Things started to heat up and minor scuffle led to a Sharks penalty and Jeff Robson took full advantage, wrestling his way over the line to bring the Sharks within 6 points after 30 minutes.
A late Inglis field goal attempt was unsuccessful as the Rabbitohs went into the break ahead 18-12.
Sam Burgess looked lively in his return and had several strong runs to start the second half. Matt King took a nasty head knock attempting a tackle and looked out cold before courageously returning to the game.
In the 47th minute the Rabbitohs were awarded a penalty when Sutton was hit late after a kick and Reynolds, who was clinical with the boot all night, struck the penalty sweetly for a 20-12 lead.
The Sharks nearly crossed in the 51st minute but Greg Inglis once again proved the hero, stripping the ball in-goal to concede a dropout. He was helpless to prevent the ensuing try however as Stewart Mills got on the end of a sweeping backline move and it was 20-16.
Gallen, who had a running battle with Dave Taylor for most of the night left the field in the 55th minute with a suspected knee injury.
With the Sharks captain missing, Inglis completed his hattrick, towering over a couple of Sharks players to pluck a Reynolds cross kick. Reynolds converted and the Rabbitohs led 24-16 with just 20 minutes remaining.
Some great lead up work by the Rabbitohs forwards gave Inglis the space he needed and he turned provider for Merritt who scored his double in the left corner.
Several times it seemed as if the Rabbitohs had broken the spirits of Cronulla but to the credit of the Sharks they fought back from 32-16 down. Colin Best scored for the visitors out wide and trailed by just 10 before Greg Inglis yet again denied the Sharks, forcing the ball loose as John Williams had seemingly dived over.
Poor handling was costing the Sharks, 6 handling errors in the second half not helping their cause. Discipline was also an issue for both sides and it was the Rabbitohs who were the beneficiaries with a penalty, which was marched a further ten, kicked by Reynolds for a 34-22 lead in the 76th minute.
The Sharks weren't done with yet as Todd Carney, who was creative all night, kicked for Pomeroy to score and draw the Sharks to within a converted try with 30 seconds remaining.
The Rabbitohs held their nerve in defence with a last ditch chip and chase cleaned up by Reynolds, who had a perfect 7 from 7 with the boot.
It was a super effort by South Sydney after the Sharks had thrown everything at them. Sam Burgess had a very positive return with 16 hitups while man of the match Greg Inglis had one of his best games for the club.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 (Tries: Inglis 3, Merritt 2. Goals: Reynolds 7/7) defeated Cronulla Sharks 28 (Tries: Carney, Robson, Mills, Best, Pomeroy. Goals: Carney 4/5)
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