South Darwin didn’t have victory handed to them on a plate in last night’s Round 11 clash against Darwin Dragons at Rugby Park.
The second placed Rabbitohs won the match 32-17 after leading 10-5 at half-time against the fifth placed Dragons.
From the outset of the game Dragons showed their intention was to make Souths work hard for victory.
The Dragons scrum dominated early and after a tight head the clearing kick was returned from 60 metres by full back Rhys Mullholland who linked up with his backline to send Whitmer Tuputala over.
Dragons applied enormous pressure on the Souths defence for the next 15 minutes but were unable to breach it.
Dragons, sapped of energy without a score and when Souths got some possession they made easy metres resulting in a try to flyer Thomas Hiramatsu.
The slick Dragons backline had often looked threatening during the first half and when Reece Culkin took a quick penalty tap the ball was flung wide to Trevor Nickels who raced towards the try line before turning the ball inside for Nigel Maher to score.
Poor ball control had been costly for the Dragons and they could quite easily have gone to the break in front instead of trailing by five.
Dragons lost the match during a 10 minute period early in the second half when Souths scored three unanswered tries by Daniel McDaid, Emille Emille and hard working lock Iolo Williams to open up a lead of 29-5
Any hint of the men in gold surrendering without a fight was quickly put to rest with their small but elusive outside backs proving hard to contain before Alex Maniju powered over adjacent to the posts.
Loose forward Lee Luta made some rampaging surges at the Souths pack and was rewarded with a try and suddenly the score was 29-17.
The Bunnies never lost their composure and every touch of the ball by Mullholland turned into significant metres gained while lock Jack Briggs didn’t take a backward step up front.
Souths now have a week to prepare for next week’s top of the table blockbuster with Casuarina.
The Cougars had little difficulty accounting for Swampdogs with their forward pack leading the way by scoring 9 of the 12 tries in a comprehensive 72-3 victory after leading 41-3 at half time.
In the late game University defeated Palmerston 32-10 after leading 19-10 at the break.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby