St. George suffers 2nd loss in National Rugby League
SYDNEY (AP) St. George Illawarra suffered just their second loss of Australia’s National Rugby League season when they fell 24-10 to South Sydney on Sunday, but the Dragons retained their two point lead at the top of a compact table when their nearest rivals also lost.
Souths joined the New Zealand Warriors as the only teams to have toppled the Dragons in the 10 rounds played so far this season, just a week after St. George Illawarra beat the defending champion Melbourne Storm 34-14 to enhance their status as the early title favorites.
Souths led 14-0 with just 13 minutes remaining but had to hold off a late rally from the Dragons. Tyson Frizell scored two consolation tries, including one from a 90-meter sprint, but they came too late to swing the match as the Rabbitohs replied with their own late tries from teenage winger Campbell Graham and Greg Inglis.
St. George Illawarra remain top of the competition standings with 16 points from eight wins. Penrith moved into second place, two points behind, with a 29-18 win over Newcastle on Friday, edging ahead of the Warriors, also two points adrift.
The Warriors missed the chance to join the Dragons on 16 points when they crashed to a 32-0 defeat at home to the Sydney Roosters on Saturday, raising fresh concerns about their defense after conceding 50 points against the Storm two weeks ago.
Ryan Matterson and Joseph Manu scored first half tries for the Roosters while Blake Ferguson, James Tedesco and Isaac Liu all touched down in the second half, despite the wet conditions in Auckland.
Melbourne rebounded from last weekend’s loss to the Dragons to beat Gold Coast 28-14 and remain in fourth place, tied on 12 points with South Sydney, the Roosters and Wests Tigers, who defeated last year’s beaten grand finalists North Queensland 20-12 on Thursday.