Bunnies emphatically break 43-year curse

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 05 Oktober 2014 | 23.08

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.

Happy 21st, South Sydney.

At 9.58pm on Sunday night, John Sutton did what many fans thought they would never see. The Rabbitohs captain held aloft the NRL trophy.

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

A crowd of 83,833 watched South Sydney score a bruising 30-6 win over Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.

The 20-time premiers, formed back in 1908 from a working-class background, had to wait 43 years long years or 15,723 days for their 21st title. Judging by the emotion, it was worth it.

"We did it boys," Sutton yelled as he raised the trophy in the air to chants of "Glory Glory to South Sydney."

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

With co-owners Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes a Court watching on, as well as recently reunited club saviour George Piggins, Souths players broke into jubilant scenes at full-time not seen for in the cardinal and myrtle for years.

"I'm so proud. This is bigger than rugby league," Souths coach Michael Maguire said.

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

His opposite, Canterbury coach Des Hasler, may have lost but he did a remarkable job guiding his side to another grand final — a fifth in eight years for him personally.

But it was all about Souths. The club was broke, kicked out of the competition and had no future.

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

Yet their spirit and courage couldn't be broken.

It was a rugged decider, as both teams ripped into each other mercilessly. That was never more evident than when departing Souths star Sam Burgess fractured his cheekbone in a vicious head clash with fellow Englishman James Graham. Bloodied, Burgess went on to play every minute and win the Clive Churchill Medal.

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

"How good," Burgess said afterwards. "What a year. It's been a long time, let's enjoy it."

Burgess typified the Rabbitohs' guts in shades of another club great — John Sattler — who played the 1970 grand final with a broken jaw. Fittingly, Burgess and Sattler both wore jumper number 13.

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

Burgess cut an emotional figure as he knelt crying on the field 90 seconds before full-time. It may have been a tad premature as South Sydney still had another try in them.

He then embraced Crowe on the field after the game.

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

"I'm lost for words. It was a cracking year I will never forget," Burgess said. "It's something that can never be taken away from me.

"It will be in my heart forever."

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.

The Rabbitohs completed 21 of 22 sets in the first half and struck first in the 20th minute through rising winger Alex Johnston. They extended their lead to 6-0 through a 26th minute Reynolds penalty goal.

The Rabbitohs surged through the middle of the Canterbury ruck and the Dogs didn't have a genuine tryscoring chance in the first half.

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

But it wasn't all one-way traffic. Just after the break, the Bulldogs levelled up the scores through a Tony Williams try.

After a good old-fashioned arm-wrestle, George Burgess struck with a stunning solo try.

He took the ball at first receiver and steamrollered four defenders to score.

Holding a 14-6 lead late in the game, Rabbitohs centre Kirisome Auva'a scored in the 73rd minute to put the game out of Canterbury's reach.

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

Adam Reynolds then converted his own try and Greg Inglis crossed just before full-time to complete the demolition.

"No words can explain how I feel right now," Inglis said. "Forty-three years. We brought the trophy back to Redfern."

Souths players paid tribute to hooker Issac Luke, who missed the decider through suspension.

But Luke still got his own premiership ring as Crowe presented him with one inside a red velvet box.

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

Lote Tuqiri completed the second-longest fairytale of the night — NRL premierships 14 years apart.

The Rabbitohs, though, have their share of injuries.

Forward Dave Tyrrell was taken from the field in a medicab with 12 minutes remaining, after

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

Graham collected his second Souths player in another ugly clash of heads.

Souths players protested Graham had deliberately led with his head. In the end it mattered little, the NRL trophy is on its way to Redfern.

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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