South Sydney Rabbitohs have bagged another piece of pre-season silverware after downing St George Illawarra 18-14 in the Charity Shield match at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
The 2014 NRL premiers endured a turbulent off-season -- which has included a feud between club owner Russell Crowe and five-eighth Luke Keary in addition to a drug overdose incident involving former player Dylan Walker and winger Aaron Gray -- but the Bunnies put aside off-field incidents to win the annual pre-season rivalry clash after a scrappy affair.
The Rabbitohs led 6-4 at the break courtesy of a fourth minute try to John Sutton, before second-half tries to Kirisome Auva'a and Ed Murphy sealed the deal for South Sydney.
St George hit back late with a Euan Aitken try, but the Rabbitohs' solid defence denied the Dragons a comeback.
While the Rabbitohs were side without stars such as Keary, Adam Reynolds, Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston and Burgess brothers Sam, George and Thomas, the Dragons also fielded a team missing key players Gareth Widdop, Josh Dugan, Tyson Frizzel and Joel Thompson.
Several Rabbitohs took advantage of the omission of their big-name teammates, most notably import Cody Walker, who showed blistering pace and creativity in the halves to make incumbent No.6 Keary nervous about retaining his jersey.
Hooker Damien Cook, recruited from Canterbury Bulldogs, was constantly dangerous in attack and close to best on field alongside teammate Paul Carter.