Suds get cooking as Damien dismantles despondent dogs with blistering hat-trick

The Souths cruised to victory over a decimated Canterbury side, with Damien Cook making the difference in the Good Friday clash at the Accor Stadium.

The Bunnies hooker scored a hat-trick on tries – the first by a rake in more than five years – and stood out on the pitch in a 36-16 win.

Despite the comfortable win, the Souths will still see plenty of room for improvement, but are now sitting at 3-3 and with some of their toughest games of the year behind them, Jason Demetriou will be very optimistic.

The Dogs were partly the architects of their own downfall – discipline was a major issue – but also very unlucky, losing striker Chris Patolo after a shocking head clash with captain Josh Jackson and Braidon Burns following a leg injury.

The game hinged on a crucial 10-minute span in which Canterbury conceded three tries with Jeremy Marshall-King in the trash. The decision to seat the Bulldogs hooker was entirely justified, with Canterbury clearly employing delaying tactics which irritated officials.

With a man down, Bunnies went 14 of 15 sets and ran into a three-try blitz that essentially ended the match before halftime.

It had been a good start for Canterbury, with Kyle Flanagan producing a superb long pass for Brent Naden to get the Dogs on the board, but they couldn’t continue.

Their defensive tactics repeatedly drew the ire of referee Gerard Sutton, who waved at them six times in the first 25 minutes. Eventually he lost patience with Marshall-King paying the price.

After surviving a bunker decision, Souths managed to get on the board via a dummy half-arrow from Cook. Moments later, Lachlan Ilias put Campbell Graham in a hole and he fed Cook to go under the posts again.

They caught their breath a bit as Patolo and Jackson suffered a nasty head clash, but that only gave Souths time to pull off a set motion, which allowed Blake Taaffe to place Alex Johnston in the corner at halftime.

Things went from bad to worse for the Bulldogs. They were forced into a total reshuffle in defense, with Burns sent off and Patolo already out with a blow to the head. Their lack of organization was ruthlessly exposed when Cody Walker put Johnston back in place early on.

Canterbury then thought they had scored, only to have the bunker call back another Flanagan-Naden co-op for the lesser of shots.

The Dogs’ stamina was admirable, but they were clearly tiring. Cook completed his trifecta by rushing to the back of a scrum, before Canterbury fought back.

It was Josh Addo-Carr’s first try in blue and white – and Matt Burton’s first assist – although it would be hard to say they celebrated it.

Isaiah Tass, in his debut, kicked the footie for a fairytale try, before Marshall-King grabbed a final score in record time.

Sports Grp2

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