The South Sydney Rabbitohs have defeated defending Premiers the Sydney Roosters in round one of the Telstra Premiership in front of 27,282 Members and supporters at ANZ Stadium.
A hat-trick to Greg Inglis, a try to Bryson Goodwin and a perfect night with the boot for Adam Reynolds was enough to sink the Roosters in the first hit-out of the new year.
The Rabbitohs showed some promise in the opening exchanges, with Chris McQueen making a massive break on the back of a set-play in the middle of the field before being taken 15 metres out from the try-line. George Burgess came within a whisker of scoring from the ensuing tackle, but was unable to get the ball over the line.
But it was the Roosters who went in right on the half-hour mark when they turned defence into attack on the back of a charge-down – Michael Jennings toeing through the batted down ball to score. James Maloney converted to make it 6-0 in favour of the visitors.
With Just under 20 minutes left in the first half, a penalty to the Rabbitohs put the side in good attacking position, and the breakthrough finally came – Greg Inglis powering over the line with brute strength out wide to open the Rabbitohs’ 2014 account. Adam Reynolds converted from out wide to level the scores up.
The Rabbitohs showed great enthusiasm through Luke Burgess – the big prop taking two hit-ups in one set before nearly finishing off with a try. But Burgess was ultimately denied by referee Ben Cummins on the grounds of a double-movement.
Burgess was at it again mere-minutes later, when on the back of a promising attacking raid, the Englishman again stretched out to score, only this time Burgess knocked the ball on half a metre short.
After a torrid period of play that saw a string of mistakes and penalties, the teams went to the sheds locked at six apiece.
On the resumption, a penalty to the Roosters within kicking distance allowed James Maloney to break the dead-lock from close range with a penalty-goal to make it 8-6 in favour of the Tricolours.
On the back of some brilliant defence from the Rabbitohs that forced the Roosters back in goal, the red and greens put themselves within striking distance and it was Greg Inglis who came away with a second try to take the lead – a brilliant movement from Luke Burgess and Dylan Walker opening a gaping hole for the fullback. Reynolds converted to make it 12-8 in the Rabbitohs’ favour with 27 minutes remaining.
A Sonny Bill Williams shoulder-charge attempt on Ben Lowe 29 metres out from the Rabbitohs’ try-line gave Adam Reynolds an opportunity to extend the lead shortly afterwards. The halfback made no mistake before another penalty shortly afterward – this time for holding down in the tackle – gifted Reynolds another two points from out wide. The Rabbitohs now enjoying an eight-point buffer.
The Rabbitohs continued to apply pressure, with long-range breaks from Chris McQueen, as well as a failed attempt by Nathan Merritt to ground the ball in-goal from a kick, saw the Roosters placed firmly on the back foot. But the men in red and green failed to convert the opportunities into points immediately.
But with five minutes remaining, a Rabbitohs bomb toward the in-goal allowed Bryson Goodwin to swoop and take the ball and the game right in front of the sticks. Reynolds made no mistake with the conversion attempt to make the score 22-8.
Greg Inglis wasn’t done yet though, with the Kangaroo representative grabbing another four-pointer with just under a minute of the match remaining. Reynolds converted to finish the night with six goals from six attempts, helping his side to the first two competition points of the year.
Rabbitohs 28 (Greg Inglis 3, Bryson Goodwin tries; Adam Reynolds 6 goals)
Roosters 8 (Michael Jennings tries; James Maloney 2 goals)