The Wayne Bennett era at the South Sydney Rabbitohs has begun with a bang, as his side defeated defending premiers the Sydney Roosters.
On an SCG field that looked worse for wear, it was a solid showing by the Rabbitohs to take the game out 26-16.
With several milestones for the Roosters, including Cooper Cronk’s 350th game – the fourth to reach the mark – they had plenty to play for.
It was Souths with all the early running, however, forcing a drop out and then being held up.
Their points would indeed come, with lock Cameron Murray taking the ball away from a Roosters defender to score.
The Rabbitohs play was then littered with several errors as a momentum shift in the game began.
On the ensuing Roosters attack, hooker Jake Friend threw the dummy and caught the Bunnies defence napping to dart over.
It would not be long before Souths retook the lead, as Damien Cook’s late grubber saw Sam Burgess beat everyone to the ball to score.
A one-on-one steal from Latrell Mitchell led to another Roosters try to Mitch Aubusson, as they went into the break ahead 12-10.
Souths were again the controllers at the start of the second half and their dominance eventually resulted in more points.
Winger Campbell Graham would get the next try on the back of good lead-up work from Cody Walker and John Sutton.
The icing on the cake would come soon after, when Alex Johnston sealed the win for Souths.
There was a late consolation for the Roosters via Daniel Tupou but it was not their night in the end.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was disappointed with his side’s lack of execution.
“One side did it better than the other with the ball control,” Robinson said.