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The South Sydney Rabbitohs have turned in a clinical performance to secure their first two competition points of the season, defeating arch rivals, the Sydney Roosters, 28 points to 10 at Allianz Stadium tonight.

The Rabbitohs ran in five tries to two in front of 35,952 Members and supporters, with mercurial try scorer Nathan Merritt bagging another hat trick of four pointers.

The Roosters were the first to strike through new recruit James Maloney in the third minute of play, finding a hole in the Rabbitohs' defensive line to score and give his side a four-nil lead.

Centre Dylan Farrell put a big hit on Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello in the eighth minute which started to turn the tide for the Rabbitohs, who were under pressure from an enthusiastic Roosters outfit over the first 10 minutes.

At the ten minute mark, Merritt scored his first try of the night courtesy of a shift to the left by the men in the red and green. Adam Reynolds found his halves partner John Sutton who shifted the ball to fullback Greg Inglis. Inglis threw the long ball to Merritt who scored in the corner. Reynolds converted from the western touch line to take a two point advantage.

Both sides turned the ball over a few times in the next ten minutes, however this period of the game will be remembered for a big hit on Mitchell Pearce by Sam Burgess, as well as Inglis running over the top of Shaun Kenny-Dowell.

Ben Lowe was denied a try by the video referee in the 24th minute, and the Rabbitohs were getting on top courtesy of their forward pack rolling forward and the kicking game of Reynolds. The Roosters were also assisting with some ill-discipline leading to penalties.

Merritt would register his second four-pointer in the 29th minute, this time coming from a cross field kick by Reynolds. Second rower Chris McQueen flew high for the ball, taking the catch and getting it back to Inglis. Inglis flicked the ball on to Farrell who found Merritt, scoring in his customary left corner. Reynolds again converted from the left hand touch line to extend the lead to 12-4.

The Rabbitohs were well and truly on top at this point and the Roosters' frustration was beginning to show. Michael Jennings was placed on report for a swinging arm which collected Beau Champion square in the face in the 36th minute of play.

The Rabbitohs were earning repeat sets off the back of Reynolds' short kicking game, and the power of Sam Burgess was evident when knocked over Roosters recruit Sonny Bill Williams on a charge up field from a goal line drop out.

The Rabbitohs had not finished scoring for the half, with Chris McQueen scoring in the final minute of play. Again, a cross field kick from Reynolds found it's mark, which just happened to be the head of Inglis, with the ball bouncing back to McQueen who picked up the loose ball and charged at Merritt's left corner. The conversion was unsuccessful and the Rabbitohs went into half time leading 16-4.

The Rabbitohs were controlling the ball and the flow of play. The red and greens had 60% of possession and over 75% completion rate, compared to 55% for their opponents.

Jeff Lima was strong in his first appearance for the Club, as was Sam Burgess and Ben Lowe.

The Roosters' ill discipline helped the Rabbitohs get away to a cracking start in the second half, giving the side great field position.

They made the most of it, with George Burgess crossing under the posts for his first NRL try in the 46th minute. John Sutton stood in an attempted tackle, off loading to George who carried three defenders over the line to score. Reynolds converted from in front to take the score line out to 22-4.

The younger Burgess was full of confidence, continuing to bulldoze the Roosters' defenders.

Adam Reynolds was split open by a loose elbow from Aiden Guerra in the 49th minute, and Sam Burgess was placed on report for a tackle on Pearce in the 58th minute.

Merritt would register his third try in the 61st minute with what was becoming a very effective left side movement for the Rabbitohs. This time it was Sam Burgess getting the ball to Sutton who found Inglis. Inglis tipped the ball on to Farrell who again put Merritt away in the corner. Reynolds converted from the eastern touch line to take the score out to 28-4.

The Roosters started to play catch up football, tossing the ball around, looking for holes in the Rabbitohs' defence.

They eventually found one, in the 75th minute, when Sonny Bill Williams capped his return to Rugby League with a try. Maloney converted to take the final score line to South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 - Sydney Roosters 10.

Reynolds needed to have his head gash stitched after the match, and Beau Champion will have his left shoulder examined tomorrow by the Rabbitohs' medical staff.

The Rabbitohs now have an 11-day turn around before taking on the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in round two at ANZ Stadium in the Club's first home game of the season on Monday 18 March.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 (Nathan Merritt 3, Chris McQueen, George Burgess tries; Adam Reynolds 4 goals)


Sydney Roosters 10 (James Maloney, Sonny Bill Williams tries; James Maloney goal)
Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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