Greg Inglis stars in a big win for the Rabbitohs in the NRL.
The Sydney Roosters have been given a rude-shock to start the 2014 NRL season, as the South Sydney Rabbtiohs romped home to a deserving 28-8 victory at Allianz Stadium.
After a competitive first 20 minutes, the Bunnies ran away with the game as they showed composure with the ball, while also captalising on mistakes and penalties from the Roosters, who are heavily tipped to go back-to-back this season.
Greg Inglis was the star for the Rabbitohs as he scored three tries, but they were all as a result of excellent team plays in the lead-up.
A fast-paced start from both teams saw a handful of mistakes made, with the Roosters opening the scoring through Michael Jennings, who cleaned up a chipped through kick.
Souths halfback Adam Reynolds, who brought a knee injury into the game, was lucky not to be sin-binned after tackling Daniel Tupou without the ball.
James Maloney added the extras from in front and the tri-colours grabbed the early lead after 11 minutes.
Souths were their own worst enemies early with several sloppy handling mistakes coming out of their own half, gifting several attacking chances to the leaders.
On the back of a penalty, Greg Inglis showed why he is one of the best finishers when he gets close, as he beat three Roosters’ defenders over the line to slam the ball down as the scores were level in the 24th minute.
With the Inglis try the red and greens started to roll on well and had the Roosters’ defence scrambling inside their 20 metre area.
Luke Burgess thought he had given his side the lead, but an obvious double-movement released the pressure valve somewhat on Sydney.
Souths will have a worry mid-week after backrower Ben Te’o was put on report for a shoulder charge on Sonny Bill Williams in the 31st minute.
Despite a relentless battle before the half-time break, neither side could land a crucial blow, as the team went to the changerooms locked up at 6-all.
“We gave a away bit of ball and we made some mistakes which gave them a bit of a chance to get a roll on, it looked like round one,” Sydney coach Trent Robinson said at half-time.
In a sign of how close they think the game might be, the Roosters made the surprise decision early in the second half to go for an easy penalty, rather than continue to pressure Souths’ line.
And while Maloney slotted the shot to make the score 8-6, Robinson did not appear to agree with the on-field decision.
After holding out for more than two minutes, finally the Roosters; line was broken as Inglis cruised across the line for his second try for the night as they earned a four-point lead.
The Rabbitohs earned the all-important six-point buffer when Reynolds slotted another penalty as referee Luke Phillips
was subbed out of the game, bizarrely, after picking up a calf injury.
Reynolds continued to get kicking practice as the Roosters’ game-plan fell apart, with the red and greens taking their lead to eight in the 62nd minute.
Unlike in some close games last season, Souths continued to present a united defensive line as the Roosters struggled to find a spark that would get them back into the game.
Twice Souths centre Chris McQueen looked close to putting the final nail in the coffin, first with a dummy and clean line-break before a pass from Inglis went to ground.
And then seconds later he made a surging run, carrying two Roosters’ defenders, only to then injure his ankle and being forced from the field.
The home side were sent into raptures as Bryson Goodwin was left to himself as he collected a bomb in the middle of three Roosters’ defenders.
The easy try summed up the Roosters’ defence at times, as the Rabbitohs went ahead 22-8 with just four minutes remaining and Inglis sealed the victory with his hat-trick.
Sydney might hear from the match review committee after footage of a tackle made my Sonny Bill Williams was requested from Channel Nine, mid-way through the game.