Both sides scored four tries, but the boot of Adam Reynolds proved to be the difference, kicking two booming conversions from centimetres in from the touchline during the game.
Both sides were enthusiastic early, pulling off some big defence, but the Rabbitohs had the better of the run, putting the Warriors under pressure through metres gained by the red and green forward pack.
In saying that, the first scoring play came against the run of play, when try-scoring machine Nathan Merritt snatched an intercept 55 metres out from the goal line. He weaved in and out of the defence, turning the Warriors inside-out in a fantastic individual effort to score in the left hand corner, making that eight tries from five games so far this season. Adam Reynolds converted from the western touchline to give the visitors a six-nil lead.
The Warriors had the Rabbitohs under pressure from the kick off after a Dave Tyrrell error just 13 metres out from his line, centre field. However the Rabbitohs' goal line defence was particularly strong, holding the Warriors out and forcing a turnover.
South Sydney scored their second try when under pressure on their own line, with fullback Greg Inglis registering his 100th try of his career, cleaning up a loose ball from a cross field bomb and racing the best part of 90 metres to score to the left of the posts. Reynolds added the extras to give the Rabbitohs a 12-nil lead.
The Warriors were denied a try by the video referee when the ball was deemed to have been knocked on from a cross field kick before centre Ngani Laumape could clean and touch down in the 20th minute.
The New Zealanders were trying to spark something around the 22 minute mark, with Manu Vatuvei racing out of the line to put a big hit on Issac Luke deep in South Sydney territory. But Luke showed his toughness of character, bouncing out of the attempted tackle and brushing it off like a fly at a backyard barbeque.
The Rabbitohs were making easy metres out of their own end, nullifying the pressure which the Warriors were trying to build.
Greg inglis was looking very dangerous on kick returns, pulling out the world's best fend on more than one occasion, the Rabbitohs were getting three players in tackles on a regular basis, slowing down the play-the-ball.
The Warriors posted their first points in the 30th minute when big Ben Matulino charged through a hole in the Rabbitohs' defensive line from close range, scoring adjacent to the posts. Shaun Johnson added the extra points to reduce the deficit for the home side to six points.
The Rabbitohs forced an error from Matulino on the kick off return, and they made the most of the opportunity just two plays later.
The ball was swung back to the left into the hands of centre Bryson Goodwin, and with the Warriors' defence backing off at a rate of knots, he took on the line and scored in the left hand corner amongst four Warriors defenders. Reynolds converted from the western touchline to take the lead out to 18-6, and it would stay that way until half time.
The Rabbitohs were clearly on top with the kick returns and ball playing of Inglis, the kicking game of Reynolds and the forward charges from the rotated Rabbitohs pack doing the damage.
The Warriors were not without hope though, as they did attack in the Rabbitohs' end of the field on numerous occasions in the opening 40 minutes and were unlucky not to post more points. Matulino and Mannering were Warriors' best with centres Laumape and Konrad Hurrell also looking dangerous in patches.
The Warriors had the Rabbitohs under pressure early in the second half from a bad pass and then a penalty, but the Rabbitohs defended their line gloriously to hold out the New Zealanders.
The Rabbitohs returned serve, only missing out on a try by millimetres, with the Warriors then turning the tables by earning a repeat set at the other end of the field despite a wonderful cover tackle by Inglis on Konrad Hurrell on the eastern side of the ground.
The Warriors made the most of that repeat set, swinging the ball to the left to Ngani Laumape at left centre, who spun out of one tackle and reached out behind him to touch down in the 53rd minute of play. Johnson missed the difficult conversion attempt, leaving the Rabbitohs with an 18-10 advantage with 25 minutes left on the clock.
The Warriors had found some renewed confidence, and scored their next try in the 61st minute when Konrad Hurrell barrelled his way through three South Sydney defenders to score. The video referee deemed there was no obstruction in the lead up to the try, and Shaun Johnson's conversion reduced the deficit to just two points with 18 minutes left on the clock.
The home side took the lead for the first time in the match on the second play from the ensuing kick off, darting to the blind side and sending winger Bill Tupou up the eastern touchline. Tupou found Pita Godinet inside who raced over the line for the four-pointer. Johnson added the extras giving the Warriors a 22-18 lead with 15 minutes left in the match.
The Rabbitohs desperately needed some possession to enable them to mount some pressure on the home side, or to spark some attacking raids.
The Warriors put themselves under pressure when they put down a towering John Sutton bomb ten metres out from their own line in front of the uprights. The Rabbitohs finally had the possession and field position they had been craving.
South Sydney capitalised with big George Burgess scoring his third try of the season from the second play from the scrum. He positioned himself inside the dummy half and put his head and charged at the four Warriors defenders in front of him. He reached out between one of the defenders' legs, and put the ball down on the line. The video referee was called in to adjudicate, and after multiple replays determined it was a try. Reynolds added the conversion to give the Rabbitohs a two-point lead with ten minutes remaining.
The Warriors were throwing everything they could at the Rabbitohs in the final five minutes, in both attack and defence. The free-flowing style of catch up football they were playing resulted in some turn overs, but they were doing well to defend their line in the same instance.
The Rabbitohs needed to play mistake-free football in the final minutes, but they too were making errors, being bundled into touch on the first tackle from a scrum and spilling a ball in a regulation tackle.
The Warriors had one final crack at the Rabbitohs in the last minute of the match, but Johnson coughed the ball up and the Rabbitohs wound down the clock to register a hard-fought two point victory in one of the most difficult road trips in the NRL.
The Rabbitohs must now prepare to take on last season's premiers, the Melbourne Storm, at ANZ Stadium next Saturday night.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 (Nathan Merritt, Greg Inglis, Bryson Goodwin, George Burgess tries; Adam Reynolds 4 goals)
Warriors 22 (Ben Matulino, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Pita Godinet tries; Shaun Johnson 3 goals)