The Rabbitohs ran in five tries to two in a largely dominant performance which the saw the Shield return to Redfern for the first time since 2010.
Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis set the tone when he charged at Michael Henderson in the opening minutes, showing that the men in red and green meant business.
It would only take ten minutes for the Rabbitohs to post their first points through 2013 recruit Bryson Goodwin. Inglis slid to the left, throwing a long ball to Goodwin to touch down in the left corner. The video referee agreed with the referee's initial ruling of try and the Rabbitosh had scored. Adam Reynolds' conversion attempt from the western touchline was good, giving the Rabbitohs a six-nil lead.
The Rabbitohs forwards were getting the upper hand with new recruit Ben Te'o getting through a lot of work early on.
The forward power would lead to points, with returning Rabbitohs Beau Champion crossing for a try in the 23rd minute of play. Inglis was involved again, this time with a short cross-field kick to the right hand corner. Winger Andrew Everingham leapt high in the air over the touch line, tapping the ball back inside, which was cleaned up by Champion who touched down in the right hand corner.
The forwards continue to win the battle up front, with Sam and George Burgess making some quality in-roads into the Dragons' defence.
The video referee agreed with the on-field referee in denying Inglis his own try in the 35th minute. Inglis put on a textbook run around play with Dylan Farrell towards the left corner. Inglis fended off opposition winger Jason Nightingale and reached out for the line in traffic, only to be ruled that he lost control of the ball. The Rabbitohs received a penalty however from the lead up play, but loose hands would see the ball hit the deck and another scoring play go begging.
South Sydney was not finished for the half, with replacement forward Nathan Peats scoring two minutes out from half time. Captain Michael Crocker put Jason Clark into some space, who in turn gave five-eighth John Sutton some room to move. Sutton found Peats who scored adjacent to the uprights. Reynolds converted to give the Rabbitohs a 16-nil lead at the half time break.
The Rabbitohs were playing some patient football and picking the right times to attack and to put on some entertaining four-pointers.
The Rabbitohs went on the attack from the kick off, with the video referee denying Goodwin a second try for the night in the 46th minute. It was Inglis moving to the left again which had the defence in at least two minds, before passing the ball to Farrell. Farrell would find Goodwin, who went for the corner in traffic, only to put the ball down on the touch-in-goal line.
Inglis set Goodwin up again two minutes later only to see his long ball hit the deck, and the Rabbitohs' defence was staying strong.
That was until the 56th minute of play when the Dragons crossed for their first try through centre Daniel Vidot. Some hot potato footy saw them in space down the left wing, and Vidot fought his way out of a few tackles to score to the left of the uprights. Jamie Soward converted to take the scoreline to 16-6 in favour of South Sydney.
Four minutes later the Dragons would score again, this time through lock Trent Merrin. Merrin strolled through some lacklustre defence close to the line to score, taking the scoreboard to 16-10.
The Rabbitohs had hit a bit of a slump but they soon turned things around.
The medicab made an appearance for Dragons' replacement hooker Cameron King who was sandwiched in a tackle between Kyle Turner and George Burgess. It took a few minutes for him to come to and to make his way off the field.
Andrew Everingham saved a certain try in the 71st minute when he took an intercept with two Dragons' attackers outside him.
Three minutes later, rookie Dylan Walker would score his side's fourth try. The Rabbitohs made metres from a repeat set and swung the ball to the right. Again, it was Inglis that would pop up out the back, lobbing a basketball-style pass over the top to Walker who hit the hole and scored. Goodwin converted to extend the Rabbitohs' lead to 12 with five minutes left on the clock.
The Rabbitohs were not done yet, with young outside back Mitchell Buckett scoring a try in the 77th minute. A loose offload from Dragons' backrower Jack De Belin was scooped up by Buckett who raced 25 metres with no one in front of him to score. Goodwin converted to take the score out to 28-10 in favour of South Sydney.
South Sydney Head Coach Michael Maguire was pleased with his side's performance, but says there are still areas of the team's game which they need to improve on before taking on the Sydney Roosters in the opening match of the 2013 Telstra Premiership on Thursday 7 March.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 (Bryson Goodwin, Beau Champion, Nathan Peats, Dylan Walker, Mitchell Buckett tries; Adam Reynolds 2, Bryson Goodwin 2 goals)
St George Illawarra Dragons 10 (Daniel Vidot, Trent Merrin tries; Jamie Soward goal)