Sam Burgess leads the Rabbitohs to a win over the Bulldogs.
Sam Burgess leads the Rabbitohs to a win over the Bulldogs. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Bunnies hop clear in premiership race

SOUTH Sydney might be on cloud nine after extending their stunning winning streak to keep a game clear at the top of the table, but that will be of little consolation without the ultimate success in a little over two months.

The Rabbitohs continued their winning run at the weekend, notching their ninth consecutive victory with a 24-6 thrashing of the Bulldogs.

The good news for Souths' fans is, Ladbrokes bookmakers are 'Bunnies believers', installing them as a $4.50 NRL premiership favourite in the wash-up to round 18.

The immediate chasing pack is back to two with the Storm and Roosters into $5 after wins at the weekend, both where key players were watching on.

"It's by no means an easy run home for the Rabbitohs but the Storm and Roosters haven't exactly got a cushy path to September either," Ladbrokes spokesman Roger Oldridge said.

"They could probably drop two, possibly three, of their last seven games and still finish top two, which is obviously a significant advantage."

Adam Reynolds of the Rabbitohs looks to pass the ball during the Round 18 NRL match between the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, July 14, 2018. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Adam Reynolds has been at his best for the Bunnies this year. DAN HIMBRECHTS

St George Illawarra is the big drifter after round 18, with the Dragons now at their biggest price for the premiership since less than a month into the season.

Having opened the season at $17, the Dragons firmed to $8 by the end of round 3 and have hovered between $5 and $6 ever since. Until the weekend's loss to Wests Tigers that is.

Dejected Paul Vaughan of the Dragons after the Round 18 NRL match between the St George-Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at UOW Jubilee Oval in Sydney, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AAP Image/Craig Golding) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Paul Vaughan cuts a dejected figure after the Dragons were edged out by the Tigers. CRAIG GOLDING

They now sit on the fourth line of betting at that $8 quote between Penrith, who remain steady at $7 despite their loss to Cronulla, and the Sharks themselves, also steady at $9.

The Broncos at $21 are now the biggest outsider in the top eight after suffering a Sunday afternoon smackdown at the hands of the Warriors who, at $17, remain a marginally better chance to win it all in the eyes of Ladbrokes bookies.