The South Sydney Rabbitohs have won their opening round matchup against the St George Illawarra Dragons at Eden Park with an emphatic 23-4 victory.
New recruits Joel Reddy and Lote Tuqiri both bagged tries, while Reddy grabbed the sides only goal of the match.
The game started poorly for the Dragons who kicked the ball out on the full, gifting the Rabbitohs early possession.
The Dragons defended well following the mistake, but it was the Rabbitohs who went in first by taking advantage of an overlap for Alex Johnston to go in the corner. A booming conversion gave the Rabbitohs an early 6-0 lead.
The try was to be the only points of the first half in one of the tightest affairs of the first day of proceedings. The Dragons’ Josh Dugan came within a whisker of scoring on a number of occasions – including just before the break, but some brilliant defence from the Rabbitohs kept the Dragons at bay.
On the resumption, John Sutton put in a perfectly placed kick into the in-goal for a flying Chris McQueen, who bettered the position to extend the Rabbitohs’ lead to 10 points and it didn’t end there.
From a short kick-off, McQueen regathered before Lote Tuqiri was given a perfect final ball to send the big winger into the corner to make it 14-0 in the Rabbitohs’ favour.
Joel Reddy was the next one to go in, with the new recruit taking advantage of a lapse of defence from the Dragons up the middle for the big centre/winger striding 40 metres to make it 19-0 with a five-point try.
The Dragons weren’t dead yet though, with Brett Morris taking a long pass close to the line before crossing the stripe to go over.
The men in red and green finished it all up though with another clever kick from John Sutton, who put in a low stabbing one in behind the defensive line for Luke Keary to score to round out the match.
Rabbitohs 23 (Alex Johnston, Lote Tuqiri, Joel Reddy, Luke Keary tries; Joel Reddy goal)
Dragons 4 (Brett Morris)