Johnston hat trick helps Rabbitohs down Dragons in entertaining clash

South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker

The Indigenous Round inspired the South Sydney Rabbitohs in an entertaining clash to down the St George Illawarra Dragons 32-24 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

The Dragons recent poor record against the Rabbitohs continued, now losing their last five games against the cardinal and myrtle side.

Matt Dufty continued his great run of form by putting the Dragons on the board first at the 7 minute mark.

An Adam Reynolds kick found its way to him after Reynolds lost the ball on impact from Tariq Sims.

From this, Corey Norman in his 200th NRL game, found space to find Dufty in support who then raced 40 m to score untouched.

This was Dufty’s seventh try in 7 games.

Zac Lomax misses the conversion for the Dragons to lead 4-0.

Reynolds left the field not long after from the collision with Sims and did not return to the game.

The Dragons momentum continued 2 minutes later with a Damien Cook knock on.

The Dragons went down the short side and a great cut out ball from Dufty found its mark.

The Dufty ball fooled the Rabbitohs defenders for centre Euan Aitken to score an easy try.

This was Dufty’s ninth try assist for the season.

Lomax converted this try to take the lead out to 10-0 in favour of the Dragons.

Dufty couldn’t keep out of the action and he scored his second try of the match and tenth try of the season soon after.

The try was set up by Dufty himself through a back-line shift to find Aitken.

Aitken was able to break through the defensive line and he drew the fullback Mitchell to find Dufty in support.

His speed was too much for the Dragons defenders and he raced through to score.

After Lomax converted, the Dragons went out to a 16-nil lead.

It would be Cody Walker who led the Rabbitohs comeback with a resurgent individual performance.

He scored a great individual try through courtesy of a great left foot step to fool the Dragons defenders.

Mitchell who took over the kicking duties from the injured Reynolds converted the first Rabbitohs try of the match.

The Dragons lead was reduced to 16-6.

Alex Johnston would then score the first of his 3 tries after he intercepted a Dufty pass.

The try was against the run of play and Johnston’s speed meant he was not going to be run down.

Mitchell missed the conversion to bring the Rabbitohs back to a converted try deficit. 16-10 to the Dragons.

Just before the half-time break, Johnston was at his best again.

The ball was spread wide and off a good ball from Mitchell, he found Johnston on the flank.

He beat his opposite number to find space down the touch line with his blistering speed.

An optimistic kick back in field found no one but grass until the ball bounced nicely into Mitchell’s hands who was running through as a support player.

Mitchell ran 10 m to score adjacent to the goal posts.

He easily converted his own try to tie the game up at 16-all and this was the score at the break.

The Rabbitohs could of taken the lead for the first time in the match only three mins into the second half but they were disallowed a try through an obstruction call.

On the back of a Dragons error, Johnston scored his second try of the match.

Dane Gagai found space from a great ball from Walker.

Gagai then drew defenders in and passed to Johnston to ground the ball in the in-goal.

Mitchell’s conversion gave the Rabbitohs the lead for the first time at 20-16.

The Dragons didn’t give up and from a Ben Hunt grubber kick soon after saw Tyson Frizell ground the ball in the in-goal to score.

The game was again locked up as Lomax missed the conversion.

It was 20-all with 27 minutes remaining.

Walker, who was having his best match of the year, scored his second try of the match.

Gagai again found space and was pulled down just short of the goal-line.

From a quick play the ball to Johnston at dummy half he found Mark Nicholls at first receiver.

He  then threw a great ball to put Walker into a hole to put the Rabbitohs out to a 6 point lead.

Mitchell converted the easy try for the Rabbitohs to be ahead 26-20.

The Rabbitohs final try saw Johnston once again the beneficiary of an intercept pass.

This time it was Tristan Sailor who gifted Johnston possession for the speeder to ran 70 m untouched to score his fourth career hat-trick.

Mitchell failed to convert for the Rabbitohs to lead 30-20 with 7 minutes remaining.

On the back of a penalty, Mitchell extended the Rabbitohs lead to 32-20.

Mikaele Ravalawa scored a scored a late try with only 60 seconds remaining from a nice kick from Sailor into the in-goal.

Lomax missed the conversion from out wide from the game to end with the Rabbitohs winning by 8 points.

The Rabbitohs have now won 9 out of the last 11 matches between the teams.

This was only the second time in the joint venture history that after lead by 16 points they have lost the game.

Walker mentioning, “it was satisfying to win after being down early.

It was good to do a job for the team with Reynolds going off injured from a big lead up in the week due to the Indigenous Round”.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Cody Walker

2 – Latrell Mitchell

1 – Matt Dufty

South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell

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