The Rabbitohs produced a stunning second-half surge to beat arch-rivals the Roosters 28-16 at Accor Stadium on Friday night.
With rookie halfback Lachlan Ilias finding his feet and gun No.1 Latrell Mitchell digging deep into his bag of tricks the Rabbitohs turned a 12-6 half-time lead into a comprehensive win.
With so much at stake the Rabbitohs charged out of the blocks with skipper Cameron Murray setting the tone with a try in the ninth minute.
The Roosters then invited their arch-rivals to double the lead with an error from a tap restart and Alex Johnston obliged with the 138th try of his career.
Roosters centre Joey Manu had raced up and taken a quick tap and passed to James Tedesco who tried to find Billy Smith but the ball went astray, Murray scooped it up and found Johnston for an easy stroll to the corner.
Some brilliant lead-up work by Manu set Tedesco up for a try in the 25th minute and the Roosters were back in at 12-6.
The Rabbitohs pick the Roosters pocket
That's how it stayed until the break but the second half was barely a minute old when the Roosters got back to 12-10 through a sweet stepping try to Manu after the Rabbitoh Thomas Burgess had coughed up possession in the opening set.
Ilias then played a leading role in Cody Walker's first try of the year and the Rabbitohs were up by eight.
Mitchell looked to have answered Manu's try soon after when he regathered a Johnston grubber and planted the ball down but replays showed the winger had dropped the ball before it made contact with his foot.
Teddy strikes back
With 20 minutes remaining the Rabbitohs had a second try disallowed when Keaon Koloamatangi was ruled to have lost the ball and failed to regrip it before grounding after storming over from dummy half.
Not to be denied a second time, Koloamatangi took a pass from Damien Cook close to the line in the 64th minute and left Sitili Tupouniua in his wake to grab the try that took the Bunnies out to a 14-point lead with Mitchell's conversion.
Mitchell then put the icing on the Rabbitohs' first win of the season when he streaked away down the right touchline after a Roosters turnover on halfway was seized upon by Jaxson Paulo.
Daniel Tupou grabbed a consolation try for the Roosters but the night belonged to the Rabbitohs and their coach Jason Demetriou, who tasted his first win as a head coach.
Match: Rabbitohs v Roosters
Round 3 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
- Cameron Murray was a colossus for the Rabbitohs, running for 141 metres from 18 runs and making 44 tackles in a superb captain's knock.
- Angus Crichton gave the Roosters plenty of impact from the bench, making 115 metres from his 13 runs.
- Joey Manu (one try, one try assist, seven tackle breaks) and Latrell Mitchell (135 metres, four tackle breaks) were the centre of attention in their first meeting since the infamous round 24 showdown in Brisbane last year. Both came up with some big plays but it was the Rabbitohs superstar who had the last laugh on the scoreboard.
- Damien Cook celebrated his 150th career game in style, making plenty of incisive runs out of dummy half and got through a power of work in defence with 45 tackles.
- The Rabbitohs have now scored 168 points in their past four games against the Roosters.
Play of the Game
The Bunnies put the result beyond doubt in the 67th minute when Latrell Mitchell brought the red and green army to their feet with a runaway 55-metre try. A mistake by Joey Manu was swooped on by Jaxson Paulo who found Alex Johnston and then Mitchell to race away, saluting the crowd on his way to the line.
Mitchell scores a freakish Souths try
What They Said
"Coming into the game I was confident that if we upped the with our defence and played through the middle third a bit more we'd get some joy and we did that and probably unlucky not to score another couple. Our completion rate allowed Damien Cook to get in the game more and allowed Lachlan and Cody and Latrell to do a bit more with the footy and gave us some opportunities to put the Roosters under pressure with our defence as well." - Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou
"We worked our way back into it at the end of back end of the first half but we were just really impatient to play our footy. We lacked the maturity to our game tonight. It wasn't a real tussle of a game. It was just set start after set start for both teams and we didn't hit our mark on the opportunities we did have."
- Roosters coach Trent Robinson
The Rabbitohs head to Penrith for a grand final rematch against the Panthers. Blake Taaffe (ankle) is expected to be available for the monster clash.
The Roosters travel to Townsville to face the Cowboys. In round 18 last year they took down the Cowboys 34-18 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.