The South Sydney Rabbitohs have opened the NRL season with an emphatic 36-6 victory over the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in front of 36,057.
A controlled five-tries-to-one effort that included a perfect night with the boot (eight from eight) for Adam Reynolds, saw the Rabbitohs sink the best of the Broncos at home.
A penalty inside the first five minutes to the cardinal and myrtles placed them in prime attacking position. But with another penalty being blown for holding down right in front of the sticks at the back end of the set, the Rabbitohs opted to go for goal. Reynolds made no mistake to open the Club’s season account.
The two-point advantage was short lived – just a minute later, a penalty to the Broncos in similar position allowed Corey Parker to equalise the match at two apiece.
With 20 minutes gone and the Rabbitohs pressing the Brisbane line, the Broncos defence held strong despite some well-orchestrated set-plays from the men in red and green. Brisbane returned serve at the other end by showing their own prowess, but a knock on from the home-side gifted possession back to the Rabbitohs, and they would capitalise in a big way.
Aided by a penalty in mid-field, Souths went through their set of six before swinging the ball out to Test centre, Dylan Walker, who danced down the Brisbane short side before carrying three defenders over the line for the first try of the 2015 NRL season. Reynolds kicked a screaming sideline conversion to make it 8-2.
Joel Reddy compounded the home side’s problems when he caught the kick-off with one foot over the touch-line – scoring a penalty right on half-way. Despite a promising set, Souths were unable to capitalise.
Another penalty to the Rabbitohs after Issac Luke was hit in a dangerous tackle by Sam Thaiday, Reynolds slotted his second penalty-goal of the night from 40 metres out to take the score to 10-2 with four minutes in the half remaining.
With the clock winding down, Luke Keary raced down the blind-side, leaving Broncos players in his wake. As he approached the 20 metre line, the five eighth threw the ball back inside to Alex Johnston, who kicked to centre-field in an attempt to find Greg Inglis. But the Broncos would ultimately end up with the ball, rounding out the first half with the Rabbits leading 10-2.
On the resumption, Reynolds hoisted a massive spiral bomb to test Jordan Kahu. Kahu crumbled under the pressure, spilling the pill and setting the red and greens up for another try.
Sutton was the man to take advantage – the big back-rower slamming over the line right underneath the posts to extend the lead. Reynolds continued his perfect night with the boot to make it 16-6 in favour of the men in red and green.
Mere minutes later, the quick hands of the Rabbitohs back-line were on display down the short-side, with Alex Johnston turning a pass back on the inside to Greg Inglis to score and celebrate with a Goanna. Reynolds made it 22-2 with his booming sideline conversion.
Brisbane’s night went from bad to worse when they sailed their second kick dead on the full to gift Souths another penalty on half way.
A string of penalties to the Broncos allowed the home side their first look at the Rabbitohs’ try-line, and after plenty of leg-work, Matt Gillett opened Brisbane’s try-scoring account for 2015 out wide. Parker sprayed the conversion leaving the score at 22-6.
But the Rabbitohs would hit back thanks to some opportunistic running from Issac Luke through the middle. Luke put Inglis through the narrowest of gaps before the skipper drew in the fullback and passing on to Keary who raced in to score a brilliant four-pointer. Reynolds was on song yet again, taking the score up to 28-6.
Ten minutes from full-time, a beautiful, deep back-line movement saw Joel Reddy finish off in the corner with a four-pointer. Reynolds made it seven from seven from all angles to make it a whopping 34-6 with eight minutes left.
The highlight for Reynolds came right on full-time though, when a penalty 51 metres out from the line saw the little halfback slot a penalty goal from over half-way to bring his kicking record for the night to eight goals from eight attempts, and the final score to 36-6.
Rabbitohs 36 (Dylan Walker, John Sutton, Greg Inglis, Luke Keary, Joel Reddy, tries; Adam Reynolds 8 goals)
Broncos 6 (Matt Gillett, tries; Corey Parker 1 goals)