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South Sydney Rabbitohs beat Canterbury 28-10 as Bulldogs lose third-straight game leading into finals

ABC GrandstandABC Grandstand 2/09/2016

Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs, (second right), celebrates with team mates after scoring a try © AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs, (second right), celebrates with team mates after scoring a try Canterbury may have lost its chance at hosting a home NRL final after losing to South Sydney in a fiery clash at Sydney's Olympic stadium.

The Bulldogs could have locked up a fifth- or sixth-placed finish with a win on Friday night, but the Rabbitohs powered home to win 28-10, ending the 2014 premiers' season on a high.

Currently sixth on the ladder, the Bulldogs now have to wait until the final game of the regular season and hope the Panthers lose to Manly at Penrith Stadium.

If the in-form Panthers beat the Sea Eagles on Sunday, they will climb into sixth and host the Dogs in the first week of the finals.

And based on Canterbury's performance on Friday, the Panthers would fancy their chances.

"I don't really know what to say. It's so hard. We're going into the semis next week and it's like we're on a massive downer," Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds told the ABC.

"It's something we've got to fix quick-smart because semi-final footy's another level up. We've got to be hard on ourselves.

"We can't do this. We can't let in soft tries, you can't do that in the last game of the season. We've just got to turn up, we really do."

Reynolds said the Bulldogs' inability to hold the ball, compounded by penalties are costing them dearly.

"Teams camp down there for three or four sets, they're going to score tries, no matter who you are," he said.

The blue and white opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Josh Jackson, but it was almost all South Sydney from that point on.

Sam Burgess and Joe Burgess added first-half four-pointers to give Souths a 12-6 half-time lead.

Josh Reynolds deflected a John Sutton kick and ran 80 metres to score in the 66th minute, but Aaron Gray crossed twice to put the result beyond doubt before Joe Burgess added his second in the final minute to rub salt in the wound.

Brisbane is now guaranteed to finish fifth at the absolute worst after Thursday's win over the Roosters.

Friday's loss to Souths was the third on the trot for Canterbury and could cost them captain James Graham.

The Englishman was engaged in a number of confrontations, as is his wont, primarily against compatriot Sam Burgess.

That included one instance when Burgess hit Graham while two other Rabbitohs held the Bulldogs skipper, prompting Graham to attempt to kick his countryman.

With a poor disciplinary record, Graham could struggle to avoid a suspension if charged by the match review committee (MRC).

The return of prop Sam Kasiano, who missed two games for kicking Brisbane's Corey Parker in the face, may be even more welcome than usual if David Klemmer also falls afoul of the MRC after being penalised for a shoulder charge in the final minutes.

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