The brute force of Boyd Cordner and the sublime skills of James Tedesco have steered the Roosters to a 28-12 win over arch-rivals Souths, putting paid to the premiers' slow start to the season.
The book of feuds was re-opened two months and two days after the scheduled round three clash had to be postponed and both sides blew out the cobwebs with a series of powerful hits.
Latrell Mitchell's defection to the Rabbitohs generated the headlines for months both during the pre-season and the COVID-19 pandemic, but the game itself failed to live up to the niggle fans are used to seeing between the game's oldest rivals.
The battle between Mitchell and former team-mate Tedesco was a feature for the clash with the incumbent Australian No.1 lighting up the eerie western Sydney venue in the final 40 minutes with a total of 13 tackle busts and 295 metres.
Brett Morris puts in huge effort in defence
Mitchell's night was solid but otherwise a quiet one, starting with an error after over-running a kick before recording 103 metres at the back.
He was noticeably vocal in the fullback spot at the crowd-less venue and provided the Bunnies their first-half try for Cameron Murray.
The defending premiers' quest to avoid three losses to start the season was on track five minutes into the game when Luke Keary kicked for Daniel Tupou to leap above Dane Gagai for an easy four points.
Tedesco breaks through
Keary put Tupou into space on the left edge on the half-hour mark before new recruit Josh Morris placed a grubber for former Sharks teammate Kyle Flanagan to collect and put down under the posts.
The Roosters looked threatening once more as Keary tried to steer the ship on the right edge until a pass landed in Braidon Burns' hands to swing momentum the Rabbitohs way.
A miraculous effort from Brett Morris, where he mowed down Burns, and then Alex Johnston, denied a Bunnies try until Mitchell's short ball for Murray was enough to get the visitors on the board.
However, a two-try blitz immediately after half-time blew the game apart for the Roosters after they had taken a 12-6 lead into the break.
Tedesco did it all himself in the 41st minute as he fought off Origin team-mate Murray to race 30 metres and score, before Cordner ran a strong line off Keary to plant the ball down.
A dubious try to Tom Burgess was given with 20 minutes remaining that left the door open for the Rabbitohs to strike late but the Roosters held on in a typical gritty defensive performance.
In the only concerns for the Tricolours out of the clash, key forwards Victor Radley (lifting tackle) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (high tackle) were placed on report, while Jake Friend left the field for a head knock before returning to grubber for himself and score the side's fifth try of the night.
Burgess pegs one back for South Sydney