Bunnies emphatically break 43-year curse

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 05 Oktober 2014 | 20.01

It s over. The Rabbitohs have ended their 43-year NRL title drought with 30-6 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

The Rabbitohs celebrate grand final victory. Source: Getty Images

THE pride of the league is, once again, the pride of the league. Glory, glory to South Sydney.

Before a crowd of 83,833, mighty South Sydney became rugby league's premier team for the first time in 43 years with a bruising 30-6 win over Canterbury in the NRL grand final at ANZ Stadium.

Souths players celebrate with the Provan Summons trophy. Source: Getty Images

Souths - the club with the most premierships in rugby league history - have climbed from the grave to claim rugby league's greatest prize.

This famous club, built back in 1908 from a working class background, can no longer be down-trodden or ridiculed.

GALLERY: GRAND FINAL - THE FANS

MATCH CENTRE: GAME DETAILS AND STATS

Sam Burgess plays on with a fractured eye socket. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

They are the champions. The Rabbitohs' gut-wrenching 15,723-day wait between titles is officially - and finally - over.

Souths fans, the tens of thousands there on Sunday night, were delirious. Their lives had changed forever.

With co-owners Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court watching on, along with club saviour

Souths celebrate a try to Alex Johnston (bottom left). Picture: Brett Costello Source: News Corp Australia

George Piggins, Souths players broke into jubilant scenes at fulltime.

His side may have lost, but Canterbury coach Des Hasler did a remarkable job guiding his side to another grand final.

Like 2012 though, it just wasn't to be for Canterbury.

Russell Crowe says Sam Burgess's Clive Churchill Medal performance has carved his name deep into the history of rugby league.

Hasler joined an elite list of coaches to have made five grand finals or more. They are Wayne Bennett, Bob Fulton, Jack Gibson, Ken Kearney, Norm Provan, Clive Churchill, Tim Sheens, Craig Bellamy, Warren Ryan and Harry Bath.

But Sunday night was all about Souths. This is the club that was broke, kicked out of the comp and had no future.

Alex Johnston over in the corner. Picture: Brett Costello Source: News Corp Australia

Yet their spirit and courage couldn't be broken.

It was a rugged decider, both teams ripping in physically.

Souths star Sam Burgess fractured his cheekbone in the first tackle but went on to win the Clive Churchill Medal.

It typified the Rabbitohs' guts.

Burgess was crying on the field at fulltime, his dreams realised.

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler congratulates South Sydney on their premiership win and says he is very pround of his playing group.

"I want to send my love to Issac Luke, I feel for him missing tonight," Burgess said.

"Most of all we did it for you the fans, it's been a long time."

On his injury, Burgess said: "It feels like it cracked my eyeball on the first tackle but I just played on adrenaline and my teammates talked me through it."

"I think I am going to be sore tomorrow, but I would do it all again."

A try to centre Kirisome Auva'a in the 73rd minute sealed an historic victory, before Adam Reynolds and Greg Inglis put icing on the cake.

With 12 minutes remaining, the game broke into controversy after Bulldogs skipper James Graham hammered South Sydney's Dave Tyrrell in a tackle.

James Graham on the charge. Picture: Brett Costello Source: News Corp Australia

It was an ugly clash of heads, Tyrrell coming off on a medicab.

Some felt the Graham led with his head, Souths fans chanting for Graham's dismissal. But the Englishman stayed on the field.

After being behind by six points at halftime, the Bulldogs struck first in the second half to level the grand final.

A sharp grubber kick from Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds saw Tony 'T Rex' Williams follow through and slam the ball down.

THE 43-year drought is over and the pride of the league is, once again, the pride of the league. Glory, glory to South Sydney.

Bulldogs halfback Trent Hodkinson landed the conversion to level the scores at 6-all.

But just when it appeared Canterbury were getting on top, big George Burgess struck.

In a stunning solo try that will go into grand final history, Burgess took the ball at first receiver and steamrolled over and past four defenders to score a remarkable try.

Adam Reynolds converted to give Souths a 12-6 lead.

Greg Eastwood on the charge. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Reynolds missed a penalty goal five minutes later, after Bulldogs prop James Graham was penalised for a shoulder charge, which would have extended his team's lead to eight points.

Not to be deterred, Reynolds had another crack three minutes later and was successful.

Souths forward Tom Burgess was placed on report late in the game for a shoulder charge on Canterbury's Greg Eastwood.

The match started sensationally with Sam Burgess fracturing his cheekbone in the first hit-up of the game.

Burgess was clearly stunned to be in such pain after just a few seconds of the game.

Courageously, he played on and made a huge impact.

It was shades of John Sattler, who played the 1970 grand final with a broken jaw. Burgess and Sattler both wore jumper number 13.

Dylan Walker offloads. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Souths led 6-0 at half-time after completing 21 of 22 sets in the opening 40 metres.

No doubt Canterbury needed the half-time break and would have been pleased at being down by just six points.

Canterbury made some basic handling errors in the opening exchanges to place themselves under intense and unnecessary pressure.

The defence early from both sides was ferocious and brutal. It rarely subsided.

Moments later Burgess had blood coming his nose in another hit. He was clearly rattled.

It was one tough game of footy.

Injured Canterbury captain Michael Ennis. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Another mistake, this time from Bulldogs fullback Sam Perrett, in the sixth minute almost gifted Souths a try.

Perrett was bringing the ball back in a kick-return when he fumbled in a tackle. The Rabbitohs scooped up the loose ball, with winger Lote Tuqiri dotting down.

But replays showed Perrett was whacked high by Souths halfback Adam Reynolds.

The try was reviewed, disallowed and a penalty given to Canterbury.

Alex Johnston on the attack. Picture: Mark Evans Source: News Corp Australia

Souths struck first in the 20th minute through rising wing star Alex Johnston. With his side on the attack, Luke Keary, playing dummy half at the time, ducked up the short side after seeing his team had extra numbers.

It was a clever play which showed lovely vision, Johnston diving over for a try.

Reynolds missed the conversion, but the Rabbitohs had struck first and led 4-0.

Minutes later, another Burgess was in trouble, this time George coming from the field with concussion. He later returned.

Souths extended their lead to six points in the 26th minute through a Reynolds penalty goal.

SOUTH SYDNEY 30 (K Auva'a G Burgess G Inglis A Johnston A Reynolds tries A Reynolds 5 goals) bt CANTERBURY 6 (T Williams try T Hodkinson goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Gerard Sutton. Crowd: 83,833.

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