The household names of the Sydney Roosters were looking for a first win of the season as they looked to take the points of neighbours, the Rabbitohs, in a tantalising third round match up at the Bankwest Stadium in western Sydney.
There is no love lost between the Roosters and the Rabbitohs and with a shortened season the first meeting of the year between these two sides had a even greater meaning with even more at stake.
A big pre-match talking point was the absence of Roosters star forward Siosiua Taukeiaho after he failed to recover from injury. The Rabbitohs were without their stand-off Cody Walker who is serving a suspension after his club failed to inform the NRL of his involvement in an off-field incident back in December.
With North Queensland Cowboys having put the Gold Coast Titans to the sword in the early morning game, the stage was set for a humdinger.
It was a fantastic start for the Roosters when Daniel Tupou rose to take a Luke Keary cross-field kick and drop to the ground over the line for a four pointer. Kyle Flanagan added the extras from the touchline as the clock kicked over to five minutes.
Despite the great start the game then turned into an arm wrestle with both sides having, and spurning, chances.
On twenty-nine the Roosters scored their second after a flowing move ripped through the Rabbitohs defence. A Tupou break and pass inside found Keary who put a grubber under the sticks for Flanagan to score under the sticks. The scrum half added the two points himself for 12-0.
An incredible tackling stint from Brett Morris prevented a quick response from the Rabbitohs. Om thirty-six the Rabbitohs finally got their breakthrough. A dummy and pass from Latrell Mitchell found Cameron Murray to go through the gap off and short ball and work hard to ground the ball. Adam Reynolds made no mistake with the conversion and The Bunnies went into the break trailing by one converted try.
A sensational start to the second half, with a fantastic thirty metre James Tedesco try, jinking his way through a broken defence, put the Roosters back into a ten point lead. Flanagan was unable to add the touchline conversion with three second half minutes on the clock.
On forty-six the Roosters went in again as Keary fed Boyd Cordner to crash the line against an ineffective tackle for the four Roosters try of the evening. Flanagan added the conversion as the Rabbitohs had no answer.
Out of nothing, Tom Burgess forced his way over the line off a Murray pass and got the ball on the ground. Reynolds goaled the extras and the Roosters lead was back down to ten points.
With four minutes remaining Jake Friend picked up his own grubber from ten metres to score without a Rabbitohs hand being laid on him. The points were in the bag as the Flanagan conversion sailed between the uprights for 28-12.
The Rabbitohs weren’t allowed the time to get into their game as a devastating opening five minutes in both halves was the difference between the two Sydney sides.
Sydney Roosters: Tedesco (T), Tupou (T), Morris J, Manu, Morris B, Keary, Flanagan (T, 4G), Waera-Hargreaves, Friend (T), Collins, Cordner (T), Chichton, Radley. Subs: Liu, Verrills, Tupouniua, Butcher.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: Mitchell, Gagai, Graham, Burns, Johnston, Dargan, Reynolds (2G), Tatola, Cook, Burgess (T), Su’A, Murray (T), Knight. Subs: Nicholls, Lowe, Sironen, Amone.
Referee: Ashley Klein.
Ground: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney.