We need to get fair dinkum in this business end of the season

By Stephen Fenech from Tech Guide

Boy doesn’t this team know how to give you a heart attack! Yes, it was a win – but it nearly slipped through their fingers. I’m glad Souths found it within themselves to regroup and claim the victory but this near-loss was their own doing. The Bulldogs did their best but if we were playing a team like the Panthers, they would have punished us and we’d be on the wrong end of the scoreboard. There are a few areas we need to tighten up if we’re going to win any games in our tough run home.

Lachlan Ilias got the ball rolling in the third minute by diving on a loose ball for our first try and a solid start to the game. Now as brilliant and unpredictable Latrell is – I do sometimes question his decisions like kicking on the first tackle of a seven-tackle set. AJ didn’t get anywhere near the ball and then we gave a penalty on the next tackle. In that set the Bulldogs scored in the corner after AJ’s bad miss on ex-Souths player Braidon Burns.

Three minutes later Declan Casey crashes over down our right side past Paulo – a witch’s hat would have offered better defence. Does he know his job tonight was tackling the guys in the blue and white jerseys because it dead set didn’t seem that way.

“Latrell went from villain to hero”

Now the Bulldogs were in the lead. Luckily for Souths, Cody showed some individual brilliance to score a nice try to give us the lead once again. Meanwhile the Bulldogs were making ground through the middle and managing to offload and create broken play which always gives us trouble.

The Dogs had a try disallowed for obstruction after that grub Flanagan went around his own player. This gave Souths one more sniff before the break and AJ got over the line to take a 16-10 lead at halftime.

Souths were lucky to have that lead. The Bulldogs were outmuscling us in some areas. They managed to drag our players into touch three or four times and often on the first tackle. Souths definitely had plenty of work to do in the second half but it was the Bulldogs who scored not once but twice at the start of the second half. They made Souths look stupid. There was some lazy inside defence – Koloamatangi didn’t even stretch out an arm or dive on a couple of occasions.

“We missed Cam Murray’s usually monstrous workload”

I know we missed Cam Murray’s usually monstrous workload but unfortunately some of our players just weren’t on the ball tonight – especially when the ball changed direction. And when we had the ball at crucial moments and building momentum, we dropped the ball.

It was in this period when Latrell would go from villain to hero. Josh Addo-Carr runs past Latrell who puts an arm out and accidentally pokes Addo-Carr in the eye. Addo-Carr took a bigger dive than a player in a World Cup soccer final and that just sold the stupidity of what Latrell did to the ref. Penalty to the Bulldogs and then they scored. It was dumb – and totally unnecessary. Imagine if that was the last five minutes of the Grand Final. But then he produces some individual magic to score a stunning solo try a matter of minutes later.

Bulldogs took the lead again when a fifth tackle play that started on the halfway line wove through some more lazy defence resulting on COVID party man Paul Vaughan crash over like he’s Wally Lewis. 28-22 down with 10 to go and, based on what I’d watched, I thought our night was over. But luckily for Souths we managed to put a couple of good sets together and were now playing down their end and building pressure. The pressure valve took the shape of Junior Tatola who dived for a try which Latrell converted to bring the scores level again.

Souths seemed to settle into a rhythm at this point and we actually played some football – resulting in two late tries to Alex Johnston. The last try was scrutinised by the bunker but it was found that we managed to stay in the field of play by the width of a blade of grass. And we managed to score the win in an equally narrow manner. Latrell also missed three goals tonight so we could have had 40 plus points on the board.

Watch our Rabbitohs Fan TV game recap here.

We need to learn from that game – yes we won – but we did plenty of things that could have easily seen it ripped from our grasp against a better team.

Next week we come up against a determined Melbourne side who are desperate for a win after three straight losses. If we play like that again, I’d say the result won’t be as favourable as it was tonight. Next week we have Cam Murray and Damien Cook back in the team fresh and ready to go. I thought Cook might have played today – he only played the last 15 minutes of Game 3 while Jai Arrow, who had more Origin minutes than Cook, was out there leading from the front as one of our better players.

We need to get fair dinkum in this business end of the season, and it starts next week against the Storm. Let’s go Rabbitohs!!!

Stephen Fenech from Tech Guide