Greg Inglis opened the NRL season in magnificent style on Thursday, scoring a hat-trick of tries to inspire South Sydney to a 28-8 win over reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium.
For the second successive season the Rabbitohs drew first blood against their bitter rivals in round one and they were worthy winners against a Roosters outfit who showed only flickers of the attacking prowess that served them so well last season.
Souths showed great intent in the opening exchanges but found themselves trailing against the run of play when Adam Reynolds’ kick was charged down and Daniel Tupou punted the ball downfield.
The giant winger then won the footrace against the diminutive halfback and was tackled without the ball by Reynolds when he looked to certain to score only for Michael Jennings to pounce on the loose ball and touch down.
The try saved Reynolds from 10 minutes in the sin bin and the NSW City representative played a key role in getting his sides back on level terms when his pass found the outstanding Chris McQueen who found Inglis.
With five Roosters players hanging off him the Queensland superstar showed amazing power to barge his way over the line finishing with a one-handed put down.
Some outstanding defensive play from Trent Robinson’s side kept them in the game and with the scores level at 6-6 at halftime.
The second stanza saw the Roosters start the stronger, but they were left to rue some bad errors with Dylan Napa letting Souths off the hook when he dropped the ball just in front of the posts early in the tackle count.
Buoyed by that let off Souths regrouped and Inglis crossed for his second when Ben Teo’s pass was popped up into his hands by John Sutton and the fullback darted over.
Two penalties from Reynolds extended the Rabbitohs’ advantage and some more dogged defence from the premiers kept the the home side at bay.
Four minutes from time that resistance was finally cracked when Bryson Goodwin hauled in Sutton’s kick, before Inglis completed his treble in the final minute.
Reynolds was perfect with the boot kicking six goals in front of a disappointing crowd of 27,282.
Teo was put on report for a shoulder charge on Sonny Bill Williams in the first half.