It had the makings of a brilliant season opener – closely fought and contested, a big tussle, star players, late drama, but none of that happened except for the star players appearing.
In what was the season opener for 2013, in a game where all the hype was placed on the return of Sonny Bill Williams to rugby league, it was the South Sydney Rabbitohs who clearly came out on top at Allianz Stadium, winning 28-10 against a poor Roosters performance overall.
The Roosters loss was a result of their own poor ball-handling skills and ill-discipline, awarding the Rabbitohs solid field position to score, something they did – with Souths coach Michael Maguire very happy with his side’s first-up performance and full of praise for halfback Adam Reynolds.
“They (the forwards) were clinical for us. I thought all out front-rowers stood up,” he said.
“The Reyno understands the game and the balance he has between pushing a pass or putting a kick in goal, it’s a big thing for the team.
“Adam’s up there with (the best) with the ability with his kicking. He’s one of the best kickers in the game.”
Largely unimpressed by his side’s overall effort, with the focus all on Williams at the end of the game, Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson thought the former Bulldog had a decent hit-out overall and will only get better.
“It was great to see him back,” Robinson said.
“We saw some stuff where he needs to get used to the game again and then we saw him trying to really push hard to try and get us back into the game as well so I was really pleased.”
“I saw some really good stuff with the ball and some good push and he was looking to create some stuff so I think that’s the Sonny that we know.
“It’s going to take a couple of weeks but it was nice to have him out there.”
Souths were in control for the majority of the game as several key players performed well – with Nathan Merritt drawing praise from some, after his three try effort in a game that he thought he might not play in.
“I was pretty sad at the time and I didn’t think I’d get back in the side as Bryson (Goodwin) played well,” Merritt said.
“I thought I was going to start the year in first division and got pretty down on myself.
“It was case of picking myself up and being more professional.”
The only sour note for the Bunnies, was Sam Burgess put on report for a high shot. Roosters centre Michael Jennings was also put on report for a high shot.
2013 NRL News Awards
3 George Burgess
2 Sam Burgess
1 Greg Inglis