It was a clinical performance that saw the South Sydney Rabbitohs pile on seven tries, with plenty of talking points ahead of the side's first match of the NRL season.
Rabbitohs Take Lead in Charity Shield Standings
What better way to celebrate the 40th annual Charity Shield than with a big win to take the South Sydney Rabbitohs ahead in the standings?
The 42-24 victory meant that the Shield not only returned to Redfern, but it also marked the 18th victory for the Club since the match's inception in 1982 - taking the outright lead.
Heading into the match, the ledger was at 17 wins apiece with 5 draws, but a comprehensive victory from Jason Demetriou's men was enough to take bragging rights heading into next year's event.
Another milestone was also had, as it marked the fifth consecutive Charity Shield in the beautiful mid-west town of Mudgee, which has since turned into the perfect destination for Red and Green Members and supporters throughout February.
Fast and Furious Start in the Heat
Despite the mercury soaring above 36 degrees, the heat failed to deter the Red and Green, in fact, it very well may have led to them asserting their dominance in the first half.
A clinical start to the match saw Damien Cook and Cameron Murray weave their magic to send Thomas Burgess over, and it took just five minutes for Alex Johnston and Isaiah Tass to do the same for Cody Walker.
The next two scores came just three minutes within one another, with Cook sending over Latrell Mitchell from the scrum before Lachlan Ilias and Murray handed Jai Arrow a four-pointer of his own.
Mitchell's penalty goal on the stroke of half-time was the cherry on top, which saw the Cardinal and Myrtle holding a commanding 26-nil lead, and one hand on the Charity Shield trophy.
At the heart of the 42-point performance was of course the Rabbitohs spine members, with Damien Cook, Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Cameron Murray impressive in their first outing for the Club in 2023.
Cook had a hand in three of the side's seven tries, with his spark from dummy half causing headaches for the Dragons all match, and off the back of that work in the middle, Cody Walker was able to weave his magic with a double to his name.
Big TrellMit was busy with the ball in hand, averaging 11 metres per carry, and he was perfect with the boot, tallying 18 points from a try and six goals - while you'd be remiss for forgetting Cameron Murray's 118 metres, two tries and two try assists.
With the big guns already off to a strong start, it's exciting to imagine exactly what they'll be able to conjure up throughout season 2023.
Run Rabbits Run
There's no way a team can score seven tries without some hard yakka up the middle of the field, and the big men got to work throughout the entire 80 minutes to set up a fine victory.
The Rabbitohs ran for nearly 1500 metres, with over one-third of those coming post-contact (501), culminating in an impressive six linebreaks on a dry track perfect for free-flowing Rugby League.
Thomas Burgess topped the running metres with 145, while fellow established forwards Jai Arrow (103m) and Cameron Murray (118m) also topped the century of metres.
Impressively, it was bench duo Davvy Moale and Shaq Mitchell who provided plenty of impact in their stints on the field, posting 119 metres and 115 metres respectively which will certainly give them confidence in solidifying a bench spot with the season right around the corner.
The 50-Minute Clean Sheet
No doubt Head Coach Jason Demetriou will be pleased with the defensive effort from the side in the first 50 minutes of the match, which saw the Rabbitohs repel the Dragons and keep them to nil.
Despite their opponents enjoying 26 tackles in the South Sydney half, it was the men from Redfern who punched out a big lead at half-time, with some impressive work from Alex Johnston keeping the scoreboard to nil.
Davvy Moale barged over for the side's fifth four-pointer of the afternoon before the Dragons even scored their first, showing the ferocity and composure in defence from the Rabbitohs, which will no doubt hold them in good stead.