The Bunnies off-season quest to find attacking weapons looks to be a success, with the South Sydney side launching wave after wave of successful attack to spank the Sydney Roosters 52-12 at the SFS earlier today.
The dominance coming through new halves combination John Sutton and Chris Sandow; orchestrating a relentless display from their team – new faces Best and Wesser getting touchdowns as did try-scoring machine Nathan Merrit, who bagged a triple.
Coach Taylor appears to have his troops completely motivated; the Bunnies coming out firing from the initial whistle.
Sutton took the man of the match honours, after initiating 4 tries himself, two of those through inch perfect kicks to attacking outside backs.
With just under 25,000 fans in attendance, it was the worst possible result for the mostly Roosters faithful. Coach Fittler confirming fears, when he said we battle so hard to get crowds here to support us, then we dish up a performance like this.
With 5 touchdowns inside 40 minutes, the Bunnies skipped into the break with a 30-6 lead.
For the Roosters, constant errors and continual missed tackles were causing them to implode.
Souths were quickly off to a 12-0 lead after only minutes, when Best made Sia Soliola look very average in defence and then Sutton held off tacklers to flick a ball to Merritt- who touched down easily.
Sydney had a brief chance to get themselves going when Anasta and Sa combined to get their side over the line, the 12-6 scoreline as close as the Bondi boys would ever come.
Any high spirits the Roosters had were crushed 20 minutes in, when a 50/50 video call went the way of the Rabbits.
Hampstead confirming Sandow had not obstructed opponents in a move that saw Wesser touching down off a grubber from his halfback Sandow.
Sandow had initially ducked behind Roy Asotasi and then smashed into Roosters flanker Sam Perrett before the flying Wesser scored for Souths to take them to 18-6.
Souths simply got on with business, ruthlessly dishing up more tries. Their hot form from the Charity Shield continued into this Round 1 massacre. With many smart punters taking the juicy odds on offer for the Souths side ranked outsiders with bookies.
Next it was the rangy Sutton and the athletic Fetuli Talanoa who combined to score after flirting with the sideline, before Merritt drove a stake into the hearts of the Roosters by picking off a wayward Anasta pass before half time to scoot away 90m to score.
If the Bunnies were on fire, Merritt was leaving scortch mark as he sped downfield leaving Kenny-Dowall in his wake.
Merritt’s next touchdown came from a another Sutton kick, the new Rabbits pivot bombing with purpose to let Merritt do the rest – the winger scoring to make it 34-6 as Bunnies boss Russell Crowe was shown on Channel 9 camera’s giving the crowd the ‘Gladiator’ thumbs down to his sides opponents, meaning he wanted his boys to completely finish off the hapless Roosters.
Substistute Jake Friend salvaged something for the Roosters on the hour mark, but Souths fired immedialtey back – with Talanoa getting his double minutes later. Once again new pivot Sutton standing and delivering the off-load for the try assist.
More entertainment was to come; at 46-12 when Pettybourne smashed his way over the line – but the champagne stuff came when Sandow chipped and regained the ball to touchdown with minutes remaining in the game. It was very much like the Bunnies of old, the Sandow moving reviving memories of Phil Blake at his best.
The Roosters walked away with their tails between their legs, young coach Brad Fittler seemingly staring at his first real challenge. While it’s only Round 1, the trial form for the Roosters was anything but encouraging and they have plenty to do. They may have just resigned half Mitchell Pearce to a new long term deal, but the rookie no.7 has at times become a little predictable and certainly needs some help from the forwards to give him any sort of platform to work off.
For Souths, they will have the Eels shaking in their boots with a match-up next week at ANZ Stadium looking like an exciting one for Bunnies fans.
SOUTH SYDNEY 52 (N Merritt 3 F Talanoa 2 C Best E Pettybourne C Sandow R Wesser tries C Sandow 5 I Luke 3 goals) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 12 (B Anasta J Friend tries C Fitzgibbon 2 goals) at Sydney Football Stadium. Referee: T De Las Heras, Steve Lyons. Crowd: 24,486.