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Souths run Roosters ragged in 28-8 whipping

The highly anticipated 2014 season opener lived up to its billing as the two cross-town Sydney rivals traded a series of massive hits for 80 minutes, with the Rabbitohs eventually claiming a very physical match 28-8 on the back of a Greg Inglis hat-trick.

Overall the Rabbitohs dominated possession with a 57 per cent share, ran a whopping 2049 metres compared to the Roosters' 1595. They made five line busts, with the Roosters failing to register even one.

The Roosters had to make 105 more tackles than their opponents.

The referees showed they will continue their crackdown on shoulder charges with Ben Te'o, Dylan Napa and Sonny Bill Williams among those penalised for the offence.

In one major promising sign for the home side new playmaker Dylan Walker showed his full array of skills, including a clever short ball that sent Chris McQueen racing through a gap, a towering bomb that put Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello under pressure, a classy chip close to the line that forced the Roosters into a goal-line drop-out, and a dart from dummy-half that would have earned a try if not for a trysaving tackle from the Tricolours' custodian.

The Rabbitohs had been their own worst enemies in an error-prone first 20 which they were lucky to emerge from down only 6-0.

The Roosters opened the scoring with a stunning length-of-the-field piece of play when Daniel Tupou charged towards a loose ball when the Rabbitohs had been on the attack and booted it downfield. He found himself in a footrace with Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds, with Tupou getting there first and again toeing it forward.

Reynolds was exceptionally lucky to stay on the field when he then tackled Tupou without the ball but it didn't stop the try as Michel Jennings dived on the ball under the posts to put the Roosters up 6-0. Referee Ben Cummins said at the time Reynolds would have been sin-binned if the Roosters hadn't scored from that play.

The Bunnies hit back just past the 20-minute mark when a Sam Burgess offload put Adam Reynolds in space and Pearce was penalised for holding onto Reynolds in the subsequent tackle, which put the Rabbitohs on the attack.

Greg Inglis barged over in the corner at the end of that set, pushing off Minichiello, and Reynolds added the extras to level the scores.

The next 20 minutes through to half-time saw a barrage of big hits dished out from both sides courtesy of Sam Burgess, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dylan Napa and Ben Te'o in particular, with the latter two giving up penalties for shoulder charges and Te'o (perhaps unluckily) finding himself on report.

The penalties were flowing thick and fast after the resumption with the count, which had favoured the Rabbitohs 6-2 at half time, quickly becoming 6-all.

On the back of that the Roosters were able to pull ahead 8-6 after using one of those infringements to take the shot at goal but Souths had the better of the remainder of the match as their huge forward pack dominated the Roosters through the middle.

The Rabbitohs earned a full set on the Roosters' line around the 50-minute mark after a Roosters error, then another repeat set when they forced the Roosters back into their in-goal. The pressure finally told when Inglis raced onto a Te'o offload to score his second under the posts and make it 12-8.

The Rabbitohs continued to dominate possession and the penalty count with Reynolds taking two shots at goal to extend the lead to 16-8.

Bryson Goodwin scored the try that put the result beyond doubt when he latched onto a clever John Sutton cross-field chip to make it 22-8, then Inglis put the icing on the cake with his third try coming inside the final two minutes, again proving too strong close to the line.

In injury news, two Rabbitohs - McQueen and Walker - left the field on crutches after picking up ankle injuries during the match.
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