It’s been a fairytale night for the Rabbitohs, claiming a grand final victory for the first time in 43 years, beating the Bulldogs 30-6.
Despite Sam Burgess sustaining what is suspected to be a fractured cheekbone, it was the Bunnies game to win.
The first try of the game was put down in the corner by Alex Johnston, but Adam Reynolds failed to convert it.
That didn’t matter, he successfully kicked a penalty a couple of minutes later.
The team led 6-0 at half time.
The Dogs came out roaring in the second half and evened the scoreboard 6-6. But that was all they were going to get.
George Burgess then opened the floodgates for the Bunnies, who kept scoring all the way up until the final minute.
Kirisome Auva, Greg Inglis and Adam Reynolds all got in on the action to seal the deal 30-6, while Burgess tried to convert what would have been the dream end to a perfect game. But it wasn’t meant to be.
It was emotional scenes at ANZ stadium as the South Sydney side celebrated a grand final win for the first time in many of the fans memory.
Sam Burgess was awarded the Clive Churchill medal presented by Joy Churchill. Upon receiving the award, the crowd gave Burgess a rock star reception.
He accepted the medal on behalf of his team, and of course thanked his mum.
Whether it had anything to do with ringing the original bell, which was used to start and finish the Rabbitohs’ first match in 1908, or the motivation to break a 43-year drought, the Rabbitohs were a force to be reckoned with.
After the win Burgess said “It’s a feeling you can’t replicate… I’m humbled”. To the fans, “it’s been a long time, let’s enjoy it.”
The game was amped up all the week – and for good reason.
The battle was always going to be between Bulldogs prop James Graham and Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess – but this was intense.
At the Dally M Awards in the week prior the game, Graham was asked how he expected to stop a powerhouse like Burgess. His response said it all: “With great difficulty.”
And he wasn’t wrong.
Burgess played all night, despite his face continuing to swell. A diagnosis on the injury won’t be known until later.
Before the game, Greg Inglis paid special tribute to the Rabbitohs fans in a column in The Daily Telegraph.
“I also want to mention our members and supporters,” he said. “It’s such a big day for so many people and I know every player is looking forward to representing South Sydney with pride.”
With a record crowd of 83,833 fans, the noise emitted from the stadium was deafening.
Russell Crowe was a man of few words when he was asked how the win compared to his other achievements throughout his career.
All he gave was, “Well I would say Andrew it is a pretty good night”.
He added, “it’s a deep, deep satisfaction” and that there will only be more of same from the club in the years to come.
Also there to witness the historic triumph was former South Sydney player, coach, chairman and financial benefactor George Piggins, who brought the team back to life after their exclusion from the competition in 1999.
It’s been a remarkable journey for a club which made its returned to the NRL competition in 2002. With the support of it’s fans South Sydney is now one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the country.
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