NRL 2019: Sam Burgess scores brace as Rabbitohs tame Dragons

Sam Burgess.
Sam Burgess. Photo credit: AAP

South Sydney have made it back-to-back NRL wins to open the Wayne Bennett era after easily dispatching of St George Illawarra 34-18 on Friday.             

A week after bringing down reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters, the Rabbitohs used a dominant second-half to fight back from a six-point halftime deficit.    

It was Sam Burgess who was the catalyst, scoring a try and setting up another in a game-turning four-minute period early in the second period.         

The England international completed a powerful performance with a second four- pointer in a six-try rout at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.              

Adam Reynolds put on another halfback masterclass, while Braidon Burns appears to have justified Bennett's decision to play at left centre over Greg Inglis.         

Burgess, who was also shifted to the edge this year by Bennett, finished with 157 metres, while Burns scored a try and also finished with a game-high 168 metres.  

The only concern was a suspected shoulder injury to skipper Greg Inglis, who played through the pain and finished the game.  

Down 12-6 at the break, Burgess barged over from close range in the 43rd minute before offloading for Cody Walker not long after.          

Campbell Graham sealed the victory in the 62nd minute courtesy of a dubious forward pass, which drew the ire of the 10,080 crowd.   

The defeat was an opportunity missed for a depleted Dragons side missing representative forwards Jack de Belin and Tyson Frizell.     

The signs were ominous early for the Rabbitohs when Tariq Sims strolled through their defensive line only to fluff his grounding in the third minute.  

The Dragons' big men were rolling through the ruck at ease against a Rabbitohs pack that appeared fatigued early in the contest.

And while it was the visitors who drew first blood on Cameron Murray's 50-metre run, Jordan Pereira went over twice in ten minutes to claim the lead for the hosts.

The first was a neat flick pass from centre partner Tim Lafai, before completing his brace off a three-man cutout pass from Corey Norman.

But the Dragons fell off alarmingly in the second half to slump to back-to-back defeats to open their season.

In a sour note for the Rabbitohs, forward Liam Knight was reported for a chicken-wing tackle on James Graham in the 28th minute.               

Veteran John Sutton also came off in the first half and failed to return. 

AAP