South Sydney's charge to the finals suffered a double blow with the star import Sam Burgess put on report as Canterbury registered a stunning, 32-12 upset in the NRL yesterday. As Luke Patten, the Bulldogs full-back, scored his 100th try in the top grade to cap a mixed night, the Rabbitohs left themselves with plenty of work to do over the closing five weeks of the season after starting the night clinging to the top eight.
And having already lost David Taylor to injury, the Rabbitohs could now find themselves without Burgess after the England forward was placed on report for an ugly grapple tackle on Ben Barba, the Bulldogs' five-eight. Michael Gordon, the Penrith Panthers winger, delivered the inspiration his team has been seeking to get their campaign back on track yesterday. Locked at 16-all with the North Queensland Cowboys at a damp CUA Stadium, Gordon scored a sensational 55-metre solo effort to end the Panthers' losing streak and seal a dramatic 24-16 win.
In the Super League, Daniel Holdsworth, the Salford playmaker, will not play again this season after deciding to undergo shoulder surgery. Holdsworth, 26, the former Canterbury man and Salford's stand-out player this season, is to have the operation on Wednesday after failing to shake off the problem. Warrington will again attempt to break one of Super League's most infamous jinxes as they host St Helens today.
For all their recent improvements, the Wolves have been unable to break the stranglehold held over them by their rivals from Merseyside. The Challenge Cup holders have not beaten Saints since 2001, their only victory in 42 games against St Helens. "It's been a long time coming but hopefully we are going to do a job on them," said Paul Wood, the Wolves forward. * Agencies