Fourth qualifying final: SOUTH SYDNEY 38 CANBERRA 16 at ANZ Stadium


FULLTIME: It’s been 25 years since South Sydney won a finals series match but it’s finally happened, a rare penalty try helping set up a preliminary final showdown with Canterbury at ANZ Stadium next Saturday.  Long-suffering Souths fans, many not born the last time the Rabbitohs won a premiership, provided a deafening aural back-drop to a 38-16 win in which centre Andrew Everingham scored two tries. The bunnies still showed a few deficiencies, going to sleep midway through each half to allow gutsy but outclassed Canberra three tries.

69 min: That roar from out of the 1960s is getting louder. Inglis runs more than half the length of the field and Everingham (who looked offside) chases a kick to dot down in the corner. This will be Souths’ first finals series win in a quarter-century. Reynolds misses. 38-16.

64 min: Greg Inglis tackled by Blake Ferguson without the ball and the line open. Penalty try! Don’t see too many of them. I guess that means Luke Burgess gets an assist! Game over now, really. Reynolds goals from in front. 34-16.

60 min: John Sutton crossed, reaching out to “score”. Adam Reynolds said: “You’ve got to give it, after last night” – a reference to Jorg Taufua’s contentions try for Manly against North Queensland. But video referees Russell Smith and Sean Hampstead did not. It was a penalty against the Raiders for Shaun Berrigan being offside at marker. Adam Reynolds penalty goal. 28-16.

56 min: Sam Williams is having a great game. Big tackle to force a Dave Taylor pass, leading directly to Blake Ferguson try. Against most expectations, Josh Dugan converts from near the western touchline. 26-16.

44 min: That was a classy bit of football from Dally M rookie of the year Adam Reynolds. He had no options, threw two and a half dummies, threaded the ball between two defenders and laid on a try for Dylan Farrell. The conversion is good. 26-10.

Halftime: South Sydney have one foot into the preliminary final against Canterbury with an entertaining 20-10 halftime lead over Canberra in the fourth qualifying final. The Bunnies raced to a 14-0 lead after after 24 minutes but then fell asleep, conceding two tries in four minutes to Sandor Earl and Sam Williams. Souths finished with a flourish, though, Sam Burgess crossing three minutes short of the break. Have Canberra done their dash or can they fight back again? 20-10.

37 min: Chris McQueen goes up for Reynolds’ kick, flicks it out, and Sam Burgess scores. First sign of forecast aggro between Sam Burgess and Josh Papalii a short time ago. Tony Archer has a new phrase: “stand down!” Reynolds converts.  14-10.

32 min: How about that? Barely time for the Raiders faithful to regain their seats after Williams’ try and the halfback hoists a bomb and Sandor Earl plucks the ball out of the air to score. Dugan’s conversion hits the upright and bounces back. 14-10.

29 min: Cronulla chairman Damien Irvine having a go at Josh Papalii online for not aiming up. But after a penalty, Sam Williams is over for the Green Machine. Joel Thompson’s decoy under question. The try is awarded, Josh Dugan only just manages to convert from in front. 14-6.

24 min: Filipino international in waiting Andrew Everingham crosses in the south-western corner after a line dropout. Adam Reynolds goals from the western touchline. This Souths side is too good to go out of the finals backwards. 14-0.

23 min: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs penalised for holding down. Reynolds adds a 30 metre penalty goal. Souths seem to be doing as they please. Michael Crocker had a try disallowed because Josh McCrone got to Adam Reynolds’ kick before Michael Crocker did. 8-0.

17 min: Good tackle then by the Seven Nation Army on Dave Taylor. Canberra putting down too much  ball. 6-0.

10 min: When John Sutton steamed into the clear then, before he put Adam Reynolds over for the first try of the game, the roar from this crowd was straight out of the 1960s. That’s the impression I got. Can’t say why. Blake Ferguson got a caution for an off-the-ball incident. 6-0.

7 mins: Rumours sweeping the press box that Canberra centre Jack Wighton’s sister Meg is actually his ex-wife. Souths’ Andrew Everingham almost scores off a one-handed Dylan Farrell pass. 0-0.

Pre-match: Hi everyone, The reason I don’t give you much notice about these live blogs is that I don’t know if I have a seat in the press box at some finals. No point posting a gamepage and then not being able to add to it until after midnight, right? Great crowd of around 35,000 and a cover band doing ‘Streets With No Name”. Not sure of the relevance. I saw a sign that said ‘Edwin Flack Avenue”.

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