Brilliant Bunnies give Dragons a big reality check

Steve Zemek

South Sydney have proven they're the real deal this NRL season with a 24-10 upset of ladder leaders St George Illawarra on Sunday.

A week after being anointed the premiership favourites following their heavy defeat of Melbourne, the Dragons came crashing back to earth.

Anthony Sebibold's Rabbitohs produced one of the best defensive efforts of the year to hold out the Dragons, who remain in top spot despite the loss.

Teenage winger Campbell Graham effectively sealed the win for Souths when he scored from an Adam Reynolds grubber that had deflected off Gareth Widdop in 72nd minute to make it 18-4.

Five minutes earlier Tyson Frizell's 90m effort when Sam Burgess dropped the ball kept the Dragons in the game when they got back to 14-4.

Frizell did get his second with a 77th minute consolation try.

Despite his error Burgess had a barnstorming game in his return from a two-week suspension.

The Rabbitohs became the second team to beat the Dragons this season. Pic: Getty

Souths backrower Angus Crichton made 188 metres and scored his side's second which made it 10-0 after just eight minutes.

Damien Cook won the battle of the NSW No.9 aspirants with Cameron McInnes, making good metres out of dummy-half and kicking for Greg Inglis' final try.

After Souths led 12-0 at halftime, they dodged a bullet when the touch judges and referees missed an Adam Reynolds knock on.

To make things worse for the Dragons, Reynolds booted a penalty conversion soon after to make it 14-0.

The turning point came midway through the first half when the Dragons had six sets on the Bunnies' line in the space of seven minutes but could not crack them.

Despite having 26 tackles inside the opposition red zone in the first stanza, the Dragons were held scoreless at halftime for just the second time this year as the Bunnies went on to hold onto fifth spot.