The South Sydney Rabbitohs have gotten their 2016 NRL campaign off to a flying start by demolishing the Sydney Roosters 42-10 this afternoon (Sunday) at Allianz Stadium.
In a match that saw among other things, a monumental defensive effort from the Red and Greens, some brilliant tries, and the return of Sam Burgess to the NRL, Souths applied the blowtorch to the Tricolours in hot conditions to claim their first win of the year.
A string of penalties in favour of the Rabbitohs saw the men in Red and Green in prime attacking position early, with Cameron McInnes striking from dummy half inside the first five minutes in sneaky fashion. The try was referred to the bunker for a possible knock on, but video officials were satisfied with the grounding. Reynolds added the extras to give the Rabbitohs a 6-0 lead.
A brilliantly weighted kick into the in-goal by Adam Reynolds saw Blake Ferguson caught in-goal to force a line-drop out. The result would prove beneficial for Souths a few plays later when Cody Walker threw a cut-out pass to winger, Aaron Gray who in turn scored just inside touch. Reynolds was unable to convert, leaving the score at 10-0.
But while the conversion attempt was unsuccessful, Rabbitohs back-rower Paul Carter made amends by scoring a brilliant try off the boot off Reynolds – the halfback hoisting it before Carter brilliantly took the ball to plant over the line. Reynolds added the extras to make the score 16-0 by the drinks break.
While the drinks break could have served to halt South Sydney’s momentum, it served to do the exact opposite when McInnes wrapped around Dave Tyrrell, before Adam Reynolds kicked into the corner of Alex Johnston who scored unmarked and untouched. Reynolds was unable to convert with the sun in his eyes leaving the score at 20-0 with 16 minutes in the first half remaining.
With the Roosters visibly fading, Reynolds then seized the opportunity to take on the line himself, and after keeping the ball alive with some classy weaving, the Souths Junior passed on to Greg Inglis who in turn stepped through the lagging defence to score a classic try. Reynolds added the extras to take the score to 26-0.
The Tricolours got their first real attacking opportunity five minutes from half-time when they threw everything they had at the Rabbitohs, only to be denied by some brilliant defence on Shaun Kenny-Dowall – the Roosters centre held up in-goal brilliantly by Souths’ outside backs.
Kenny-Dowall would be denied for a second time just moments later, and with the first half winding down, the home-side would receive a number of repeat sets on the try-line courtesy of some Rabbitohs ill-discipline. But the Red and Greens would defend superbly to go to the break leading 26-0.
Nine minutes after the break, Kyle Turner hit a short-ball at speed to score adjacent to the posts, and with Reynolds’ conversion, the Rabbitohs found themselves ahead by 32-0.
It took some 65 minutes, but the Roosters finally got over the line through debutant Joe Burgess, who raced over on the wing to open his club’s account for the season. Latrell Mitchell converted to make it 32-6.
Following the Roosters’ try, Reynolds was forced to leave the field and go up the tunnel clutching his jaw after making a tackle, and his absence opened an opportunity for Cody Walker to step up into the halfback role. The debutant made his presence felt instantly – a grubber kick being regathered by Turner who in turn passed it on to Bryson Goodwin who scored. Goodwin added the extras to make it 38-6.
Following the drinks break, the Roosters would respond again through Burgess albeit after a questionable pass in centre-field that led to the opportunity to narrow the gap to 38-10.
With nine minutes left on the clock, Hymel Hunt showed the type of determination his team had displayed all afternoon to overcome the Roosters’ defence to plant the ball down out wide for his first try in Souths colours, taking the score out to 42-10 to round out the match.
Rabbitohs 42 (Cameron McInnes, Aaron Gray, Paul Carter, Alex Johnston, Greg Inglis, Kyle Turner, Bryson Goodwin, Hymel Hunt, tries; Adam Reynolds 4, Bryson Goodwin 1, goals)
Roosters 10 (Joe Burgess 2, tries; Latrell Mitchell 1 goal)