Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell have helped South Sydney stretch its Charity Shield dominance over St George Illawarra to nine years with a sizzling 48-16 win in Mudgee on Saturday night.
- Walker scored three tries in the first half against the Dragons
- Joseph Suaalii crossed for two tries in a lower-grade trial match for North Sydney
- Harry Grant sustained a knee injury in the Storm’s trial against the Knights
The Rabbitohs were almost untouchable in the first half as they raced to a 32-4 lead, with Walker scoring a hat-trick of tries in an eight-minute period.
Mitchell, backing up from last week’s All Stars match, was equally as impressive in the first half against the Dragons, setting up South Sydney’s first two tries and then scoring one of his own just before half-time.
The Dragons’ only first-half points were scored by Jordan Pereira after ex-Bronco Jack Bird burst through some traffic, although the winger failed an HIA after getting the ball down in the corner.
“It’s amazing what we can do when we hold the ball, and complete our sets and really put the pressure on St George,” Walker told Fox Sports.
“It’s quite impressive the way we played but we’ve got to keep it up.”
Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett made a raft of changes at half-time, with off-season signings Benji Marshall, Jai Arrow and Josh Mansour entering the fray, with the latter crossing for a try in the 77th minute.
Young Dragons winger Cody Ramsey showed some neat footwork to scoot across the line, while Paul Vaughan broke through some flimsy defence to also score in the second half but there was otherwise little for new coach Anthony Griffin to smile about.
Suaalii scores a brace in Roosters trial
It was the most anticipated lower-grade trial match in history but teen star Joseph Suaalii did not betray the hype with two tries for Sydney Roosters’ feeder club North Sydney.
Suaalii showed off the right-foot step that made the Roosters hierarchy go to battle with South Sydney for his signature this season as he scored a try in each half of the Bears’ 26-18 win over Canberra in Queanbeyan.
The hulking 17-year-old towered over his teammates as he lined up at right centre, but showed signs of struggle in his first rugby league match in 18 months.
There was a scare late in the match when he was helped from the field with a leg injury, which was later revealed to be a cramp.
For both tries, Suaalii used his brute strength and size to score, but was lucky with his first when he did not pass to an unmarked winger on the edge.
Later, halves Sam Walker and Lachlan Lam were in good touch to lead the Roosters to a 26-20 win over the Raiders in their NRL trial.
Meanwhile, the Melbourne Storm are sweating on scans for hooker Harry Grant, who is in doubt for round one with a knee injury he picked up in the Storm’s 30-10 win against Newcastle in Albury.
Grant is expected to fill the number nine jersey left vacant by Cameron Smith this season but Brandon Smith will get the call-up against South Sydney in a fortnight should he be ruled out.
Elsewhere, David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui were impressive in their club debut for Gold Coast in a 12-12 draw with the Warriors in Lismore, while Trent Barrett scored his first win as Canterbury coach with a 16-12 victory over Cronulla.