Ben Hunt of the Dragons reacts after scoring a try during the Second Semi Final between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George-Illawarra Dragons in Week 2 of the NRL Finals Series at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, September 15, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Ben Hunt of the Dragons reacts after scoring a try during the Second Semi Final between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the St George-Illawarra Dragons in Week 2 of the NRL Finals Series at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, September 15, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

‘Unbelievable’ choke costs St George finals spot

Live NRL Semi

THE Dragons have been sent spiralling out of September after a stunning decision to run the ball from their fifth tackle with seconds on the clock sunk their last chance at a field goal.

The score was tied up at 12-12 after the season's second semi-final became a game of inches as the two sides traded points late in the second half.

A smooth field goal from Adam Reynolds - his third of the night - drove South Sydney home and into a preliminary final clash against rivals and minor premiers the Sydney Roosters.

10pm

Rabbitohs seal incredible victory

The Rabbitohs claimed a stunning one-point victory late in the second half as Adam Reynolds edged them over the line with three field goals.

A scoreless 20 minutes followed the halftime break as St George doggedly defended their six-point lead. An edgy Souths pack looked desperate to even out the score before Reynolds found the line.

The Rabbitohs halfback ran through under the posts after a break from Angus Crichton opened up clean ground. Reynolds converted the easy kick from in front and brought the score to a tense 8-8 lock.

Reynolds added insult to injury at 10-10, sinking an incredible field goal to inch the Rabbitohs ahead by a point at crunch time.

It followed a failed attempt from St George's Ben Hunt, who skewed his drop-kick wide on the 70 minute mark. The Saints weren't done yet, though.

Youngster Zac Lomax booted a penalty goal out front to scrape ahead by one but Reynolds put a stopper in the southerners' dreams with another silky drop goal with three minutes on the clock.

"Can you believe it, can you believe it, with their season on the line they ran the ball?!" Michael Ennis said. "Unbelievable."

"I just don't know what they were thinking," Fox Sports' Brett Finch said after the game. "That will stick with them for the entire off-season."

Dragons coach Paul McGregor couldn't believe his eyes as he jumped out of his seat in frustration.

To cap off a stunning night for the NRL, Claims of the league being unable to produce large crowds were silenced by the 48,000 strong crowd at ANZ Stadium to view the second semi final on Saturday.

7.50pm

Burgess trio in the wars as St George take the lead

George Burgess copped a massive head knock while in a tackle with twin brother Tom to kick off the NRL's second semi-final.

The towering prop was mummified by support staff and was brought from the field for a concussion test - but the Burgess blunders didn't stop there.

Elder brother Sam dropped the ball forward in his first run of the night, handing the ball over to St George inside of three minutes.

The Souths took an early penalty under the posts to take the lead but were soon caught up by the Dragons after giving away an offside penalty near their line.

A ferocious display from either side's forward pack left the first half try-less into its final five minutes. South Sydney got a whiff of the tryline through an Adam Reynolds chase-down late in the piece but it was St George who did the damage in the dying minutes before the break.

Ben Hunt broke into clear ground after throwing a smooth dummy pass and went over for an easy try on the right.

Hunt's masterclass in the first half had Greg

6.30pm

Scandal hangs over NRL semi

A sexting scandal will hang over embattled South Sydney when they attempt to keep their NRL premiership dreams alive in Saturday's semi-final against St George Illawarra.

The Rabbitohs are in the throes of an investigation into a star player's involvement in an alleged sex video during an online chat with a young woman in May.

News Corp Australia reported verified social media accounts belonging to star forward Sam Burgess is at the centre of the saga.

There was no suggestion Burgess was involved, however it is alleged multiple Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to the 23-year-old woman after a win over the Warriors.

The club revealed that it had contacted the woman on Friday, and that a panel had been established to co-ordinate the investigation alongside the NRL integrity unit.

South Sydney also confirmed that police have laid multiple charges on prop Zane Musgrove over a domestic assault matter.

The developments came less than a day before the Rabbitohs face the Dragons in a final-six clash, with the winner to advance to a grand final qualifier. Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold admitted he was only made aware of the sexting drama on Thursday and that it was up to him to ensure the players' minds were on the job.

"They're professional athletes. I'm a professional coach. So that's our job," Seibold said.

"We've got to make sure that we have a really competent session (on Friday) in the team meeting room, and it's led by me.

"I need to make sure that I'm across what we need to do for tomorrow night's game. We've had a really good preparation so far.

"Obviously it's not ideal that these accusations have come out and they're front page news. It's not what anyone wants, it's not what I want. It's not what our game needs." Rabbitohs pair Adam Reynolds (shoulder) and Greg Inglis (ribs) are both set to play despite carrying minor injuries from last week's qualifying final loss to Melbourne.

For the Dragons, skipper Gareth Widdop (shoulder) is missing and centre Euan Aitken (hamstring) also remains sidelined.

The winner will meet minor premiers Sydney Roosters for a spot in the grand final.

A sexting scandal will hang over embattled South Sydney when they attempt to keep their NRL premiership dreams alive in Saturday's semi-final against St George Illawarra.

The Rabbitohs are in the throes of an investigation into a star player's involvement in an alleged sex video during an online chat with a young woman in May.

News Corp Australia reported verified social media accounts belonging to star forward Sam Burgess is at the centre of the saga.

There was no suggestion Burgess was involved, however it is alleged multiple Rabbitohs players exposed themselves to the 23-year-old woman after a win over the Warriors.

The club revealed that it had contacted the woman on Friday, and that a panel had been established to co-ordinate the investigation alongside the NRL integrity unit.

South Sydney also confirmed that police have laid multiple charges on prop Zane Musgrove over a domestic assault matter.

The developments came less than a day before the Rabbitohs face the Dragons in a final-six clash, with the winner to advance to a grand final qualifier. Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold admitted he was only made aware of the sexting drama on Thursday and that it was up to him to ensure the players' minds were on the job.

"They're professional athletes. I'm a professional coach. So that's our job," Seibold said.

"We've got to make sure that we have a really competent session (on Friday) in the team meeting room, and it's led by me.

"I need to make sure that I'm across what we need to do for tomorrow night's game. We've had a really good preparation so far.

"Obviously it's not ideal that these accusations have come out and they're front page news. It's not what anyone wants, it's not what I want. It's not what our game needs." Rabbitohs pair Adam Reynolds (shoulder) and Greg Inglis (ribs) are both set to play despite carrying minor injuries from last week's qualifying final loss to Melbourne.

For the Dragons, skipper Gareth Widdop (shoulder) is missing and centre Euan Aitken (hamstring) also remains sidelined.

The winner will meet minor premiers Sydney Roosters for a spot in the grand final.

- with AAP

 

6pm

Holmes out to end Slater fairytale

He craves being remembered among Cronulla's all-time greats but Valentine Holmes is putting his long-term future on hold as he focuses on ending the career of superstar friend and foe Billy Slater.

Holmes' fullback duel with Slater shapes as a highlight of Cronulla's blockbuster NRL preliminary final showdown with Melbourne as the 2016 grand finalists and arch rivals clash for a place in the 2018 title decider. After a scintillating first season in the Sharks' No.1 jumper, Holmes has emerged as Slater's heir apparent for Queensland and possibly Australia when the retiring world player of the year hangs up his boots this season. Without a pang of guilt, Holmes hopes that comes at AAMI Park on Friday night. "He's obviously had a marvellous career. I don't think he'd be too disappointed," Holmes said when asked if he minded spoiling Slater's party. "He's obviously won three or four grand finals, World Cups, Dally Ms, Origins, so he'd probably be a bit cut he's not in the grand final but I'm sure he'd be happy with the career he had.

"And we've got 'Lewie' (Luke Lewis) retiring so we've got to think about guys like him and send him out the way he deserves." Holmes maintains the greatest respect for Slater.

"I've idolised him since I was a kid. He's obviously from up north as well where I'm from," he said after Cronulla's heart-stopping 21-20 semi-final win over Penrith on Friday.

"It's been pretty cool to play alongside him. I've learned a lot." Such as the Slater-like play the 23-year-old produced in a game-changing flash of brilliance against Penrith.

When the Panthers drew level at 20-all with 12 minutes remaining, having trailed 18-0, Sharks fans feared the worst against the league's comeback kings. Holmes, though, spied an opportunity and regained possession from his own kick- off to kill Penrith's momentum.

"I didn't tell anyone," Holmes said of the bold play minutes before Chad Townsend clinched Cronulla's victory with the winning field goal. "We needed the ball back and I backed myself and was lucky enough to pull it off." Cronulla are facing an almighty battle retaining Holmes beyond 2019 as North Queensland try to lure him back home to Townsville.

"I'm not too worried about my future at the moment. I'm still secure for next year so I've still got a job," he said.

Cronulla's' best hope of keeping their try-scoring machine rests with Holmes' desire to to rank alongside the club's legends.

"There's some pretty great players who have played in the Sharks," he said. "It's going to be hard to beat. There's the Rogers boys, Ettingshausen, obviously, so I'd love to be noticed in that calibre.

"But I'm still only young. I've got a lot to work on."


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