Souths outgun Dragons in big NRL win

Adam Reynolds scored a try and seven goals as he closes in on Eric Simms' scoring record for Souths.
Adam Reynolds scored a try and seven goals as he closes in on Eric Simms' scoring record for Souths.

South Sydney's powerhouse attack masked defensive lapses that continue to trouble coach Wayne Bennett despite a 50-14 victory over St George Illawarra on Sunday night.

With their eighth win in a row, Souths moved to equal second on the NRL ladder, setting up a blockbuster top-four showdown with Parramatta next week.

The Rabbitohs left it late to put the burners on as the rookie Dragons found gaps in the defence with three tries that were patched over by Souths' unstoppable attack.

The Dragons got within two points after 26 minutes before Souths ran in two late tries to go into the sheds up 24-10.

With 15 minutes to play the Dragons pulled it back to 30-14 before Souths put on a four-try blitz to hammer home the victory.

And while they scored nine tries, including a double to Latrell Mitchell, it was their defence at the other end that concerns Bennett.

He rated last week's 60-22 win over the Warriors as a six out of 10 and reached the same conclusion for Sunday's win after leaking three tries.

"It was a bit all over the place. Some really good footy, some ordinary stuff and some really good football," he said.

"There was two tries off kicks, I think (the Dragons) only broke the line once they got the other try.

"It's just the lapses we're coming up with a little bit. When we're on, we tackle pretty well."

Paul Vaughan's now-infamous illegal barbecue once again hurt the Dragons on their hunt for a top-eight finish with Blake Lawrie, Jack Bird, Jack De Belin and Josh McGuire all serving their one-match bans this week.

But Ben Hunt did his best to dig the Dragons out of mounting pain.

The star half set up Tyrell Fuimaono and Billy Burns for first-half tries off the boot, also forcing a drop out and booting a 40/20 to keep the Dragons in the contest.

Tyrell Sloan again showed he's a player of the future with his third try in as many NRL games.

The 19-year-old bumped Matt Dufty out of the No.1 jersey this week and repaid the faith with a brilliant try in the 64th minute to narrow the deficit to 16.

Meanwhile, Fuimaono will be sweating on the charge sheet on Monday morning after being put on report twice for two dangerous tackles.

Any charge will add to his rap sheet this season having served six weeks of suspensions this season, including one week for the COVID-19 breach.

For now, the Dragons remain eighth on the ladder and hope to be full strength against Canberra next week.

"Tonight, the disappointing thing was the last 15 minutes," said coach Anthony Griffin.

"It hurt us tonight in the moment but the points for-and-against at this time of year don't help you."

Australian Associated Press