Deemed primarily as a trial, neither the South Sydney Rabbitohs or St George Illawarra Dragons treat as such – as they did battle in the 30th annual Chatity Shield clash, one that saw the Rabbitohs prove too strong for the Dragons, as they won 28-10.
The Dragons offered some resistance during a 15-minute period, but for the rest of the game, it was all Souths – as some shocking errors and silly penalties ultimately cost the Dragons.
To make matters more concerning, both Mitch Rein (arm/shoulder) and Cameron King (concussion) were both forced off the field – Rein looked in pain as he exited the field, whereas King had to be escorted off on the medi-cab, clearly off with the fairies.
It was some early work from the lesser known Burgess brother, George, that almost led to an early try, but he couldn’t hold onto the ball, dropping it short of the try-line.
The Dragons had plenty of chances to apply some pressure and gain the ascendancy, but it was errors in attacking opportunities or in their own half and silly penalties that prevented them from playing to their potential.
Despite a rather disappointing first-half, Dragons coach Steve Price believed that his side redeemed themselves somewhat in the 2nd half and is not too concerned on the whole.
“I was proud of the way we fought back but we let ourselves down with some poor execution,” he said.
“But that’s what trials are for, we’re not going to beat ourselves up about it and have two weeks to get it right.”
Despite the injuries sustained to his players, Price expects them all to be fit and raring to go for Rd 1.
“Our medical staff are not overly concerned. Cam was doing well, but he got a bit of a knock and he is a crook man at the moment,” he said.
“Mitch Rein has a bit of a burner on his shoulder and we’ll let it settle down and then get some scans on it in the week.”
With impressive performances from George Burgess and Bryson Goodwin heading into Rd 1, Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire will have some tough decisions to make in regards to his final line-up.
“I’ve some big decisions to make, but that is good for a coach,” Maguire said.
A major talking point before the game, however, was news that Souths winger Nathan Merritt was stood down, something the club and Maguire stand by.
“We have high standards within the club and how we go about things,” he said.