Hyped by the media as a new rivalry game given the history of the coaches, veteran Wayne Bennett got the last laugh as the South Sydney Rabbitohs defeated the Brisbane Broncos.
Sacked by the Broncos , Bennett joined the Rabbitohs, with Anthony Seibold going in the opposite direction.
Their 2019 fortunes could not be more different; Bennett’s Bunnies are flying high and Seibold’s Broncos are cellar dwellars.
That trend continued as the Rabbitohs demolished a rather lacklustre Broncos side to win 38-6 at ANZ Stadium.
On the back of another Cody Walker masterclass, there was just too much finesse and too much class for the Broncos to match it.
It was meant to be a night to remember for Darius Boyd as he notched up an impressive milestone of 300 games. It was anything but.
Walker opened the scoring for the Rabbitohs, after a grubber took a bad bounce for milestone man Boyd and Walker was there to pounce.
Out of seemingly nothing, the second try also involved a grubber, this time kicking for himself.
The bounce again favoured the Bunnies, as Walker snatched the ball from thin air and glided over to score his ninth try this season.
Try as they might, the luck was not on the side of the Broncos. Corey Oates went into touch first before an intercept gave the Rabbitohs more points.
Milford tried for a pass to capitalise on an overlap but instead, Souths halfback Adam Reynolds pounced for an intercept try.
Walker turned provider this time, as he guided Kyle Turner over the line for a simple try as Souths had a commanding half-time lead.
The Broncos would not be held scoreless, though, as Oates powered over for their only try of the game.
As the contest dwindled to a close, the Rabbitohs edge back-rowers both scored tries.
Sam Burgess and John Sutton both gliding over with ease to heap further misery onto the Broncos.
Despite the loss, Seibold praised debutant half Tom Dearden as he expects improvement from his side next week.
“I thought Tom was real solid on debut,” said Seibold.
“He’s the best half that we’ve got at our club at the moment so we’re going to back him and trust him.
“I wouldn’t have put him in there if I didn’t think he could do a job.
“It’s ridiculous for us to think about anything else other than improving our performance against Manly next week.”
With the retirement of Greg Inglis fresh in everyone’s minds, Bennett appreciate the nice gesture of his players to do goanna celebrations.
“I didn’t [know it would happen] but I was pleased, I thought it was a great tribute to Greg, it’s something the boys obviously thought about amongst themselves,” Bennett said.
“They’ve got to score the tries first before they can have the celebration so that was the first part they got right but I thought it was nice, very respectful.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Cody Walker
2. John Sutton
- Damien Cook