It was a closely fought affair but in the end, it was the South Sydney Rabbitohs who continued their good form in the Charity Shield, winning yet again over the St George Illawarra Dragons in the annual clash.
Souths have won every year since 2013 but despite that, it was a largely sloppy and error-riddled affair between the two sides.
The result itself was not the only major talking point, with the majority of the new rule changes trialed in this game seemingly working.
There were shining lights for both teams and rustiness as well, as players get used to the NRL grind once more.
With numerous positions potentially up for grabs at Souths, it was Hymel Hunt and Cody Walker – a centre/wing and five-eighth respectively with a chance to play first-grade come Rd 1 – shining and performing well.
The major talking point from a Souths perspective was the performance of recruit Damien Cook. Surprisingly quicker than many had anticipated, that speed and his performance caught the eye of Bunnies fans who are keen to see more of him.
It was Souths who eventually kicked on and had a strong lead, but a late Dragons try made the score a bit more respectable.
With the shot clock one of the new rules being trialed and introduced, Dragons captain Ben Creagh said it was not really something that he noticed.
“I wouldn’t say it was a really a factor to tell you the truth. I didn’t really notice it too much tonight,” Creagh said.
“It seemed like the normal amount of time to get back for a drop out or get to a scrum. There were no guys having to run or rush to get there so I don’t think it was too much of a problem tonight.”
Although his side lost, one player that did please Creagh was new hulking front-rower Russell Packer.
“He’s the 120kg forward we’ve needed for a couple of years now,” Creagh said.
“He carts the ball up hard, and defensively he’s pretty imposing as well.”
Despite that positive praise from Creagh, Packer was his harshest critic.
“We were down a little bit in our intensity. The speed of the game was a lot faster than the Wynnum game but it was good to get back out there. We’ll learn from this as a group.”
As for Souths, Michael Maguire kept his cards close to his chest as usual, remaining coy on whether he would play one or two hookers.
“I’ve got ideas about which way I’ll go, but it’s up to the players,” said Maguire.
“We’re a performance-based team, and we talk about that amongst each other and the senior players, so we’ll make those decisions after the trial.”