Souths do it ugly against Bulldogs
IT wasn't a performance that would have impressed coach Wayne Bennett but it was enough to keep South Sydney in the NRL top four.
In a frustrating Good Friday battle that never reached any great heights, neither team scored any second-half points as they bumbled and fumbled their way to the final hooter.
It was the first scoreless second half in any NRL game since Round 1 2017 between Melbourne and Canterbury.
The win made it five wins from the opening six games for the Bunnies while it was the Bulldogs' third straight defeat.
The Bulldogs did incredibly well to only be trailing by eight points at half-time despite the Rabbitohs having a huge 65-35 per cent split of possession and Canterbury forced to make 60 more tackles at that point.
Souths had plenty of chances but their attack lacked direction and intensity as they ran from side to side and got nowhere in the process.
The Rabbitohs' lack of cohesion didn't improve early in the second half and to their credit Canterbury's energy in defence was starting to really frustrate Souths' spluttering attack.
LITTLE DOG'S BIG FIGHT
They old saying it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog summed up Lachlan Lewis' performance perfectly.
The lightweight Canterbury halfback had a running battle with Rabbitohs enforcer Sam Burgess and in the end Lewis probably got home on a split points decision.
Big Sam picked the Bulldogs playmaker out from pretty much the opening minute when he put the bumper bars up and steamrolled straight at Lewis.
But instead of backing down, Lewis stood his ground.
Burgess continued to try and rattle the young half and they became embroiled in a a heated incident just before half-time that saw players from both teams rush into the melee.
But soon after Burgess took a hit up and Lewis went in low and hard, with Burgess left wincing in pain.
Their running battle continued in the second half and Lewis was clearly frustrating the Rabbitohs' skipper.
Lewis' aggression and courage was one of the highlights of a gritty and spirited Bulldogs' performance.
And while they did not come away with the two competition points they certainly won some more respect.
SMITH'S BLINDING SPEED
Young Cronulla outside back Bronson Xerri put up the challenge to the likes of Josh Addo-Carr and James Roberts for the title as the NRL' fastest man when he burnt Penrith's Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for a try on Saturday night.
But another young flyer who'd deserve a start if there ever was a match race is Canterbury winger Reimis Smith.
South Sydney rookie Corey Allan is no slouch but after Allan busted through from near his own goal line, Smith set chase and he mowed Allan down with astonishing speed.
Jeremy Marshall-King also showed exceptional pace to come across in cover.
Unfortunately their good work wasn't rewarded with a tough call going against the Bulldogs after Smith was said to have impeded Campbell Graham as he set out after Allan.
KERROD'S COSTLY PUSH
Kerrod Holland absolutely butchered a try that could have pulled the margin back to just two points at the break.
Jack Cogger put through a nice little kick and Holland had luck go his way when Dane Gagai turned and lost his balance.
But instead of sticking to the rules, Holland contacted Gagai and ultimately the video ref had no option but to deny the try.
SOUTH SYDNEY 14 (C Graham A Johnston tries A Reynolds 3 goals) bt CANTERBURY 6 (O Ogden try K Holland goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Henry Perenara, Tim Roby. Crowd: 30,040