Greg Inglis turned on an awesome display of power and skill to help assert South Sydney's position as premiership favourites with their fourth win in 17 days.
Just six days after Sam Burgess produced a performance against Manly that had many praising him as the best player in the NRL, Inglis scored three tries and laid on another one in the Rabbitohs 42-16 defeat of Brisbane that raised the question of how good Jarryd Hayne must be if players recently voted him better than the Souths superstar.
While Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has wanted to keep a lid on the public expectations of his side after falling one win short of the grand final the past two seasons, there is no doubt that this is the best chance for Souths to finally end their 43-year premiership drought if Inglis and Burgess can maintain their current form.
The only downside of the Rabbitohs win was the reporting of Queensland Origin second-rowers Chris McQueen and Ben Te'o for illegal wrestling manoeuvres.
McQueen was placed on report for a crusher tackle on Josh McGuire, while Te'o faces his second suspension within three weeks after being reported for a chicken-wing tackle on Sam Thaiday that was similar to the one which cost George Burgess a two match ban from last Friday's match against Manly.
With a differential of +231, Souths remain on track to claim their first minor premiership since 1989 if they win their remaining three matches against North Queensland, Canterbury and Sydney Roosters and the Sea Eagles lose any of their four games.
After playing the Raiders in Canberra, Newcastle in Cairns, Manly at the SCG and Brisbane at ANZ Stadium over a 17 day period, the Rabbitohs now have an eight day break before hosting the Cowboys next Saturday night.
The loss leaves the Broncos needing to win all three of their matches to have any chance of making the final eight but they got off to the best possible start on Thursday night when Inglis' long time Australian and Queensland centre partner Justin Hodges crossed in the fifth minute.
But from then on it was virtually all one way traffic as the Rabbitohs went on the rampage.
Inglis levelled the scores when he charged over from close range in the 15th minute and then put Souths ahead 10 minutes later by starting and finishing one of the most spectacular tries of the season in the 25th minute.
Racing onto an Adam Reynolds chip kick, Inglis turned on an awesome display of skill and power as he skittled Broncos fullback Josh Hoffman before passing to Sam Burgess and then racing around behind the Englishman to receive an offload and storm over near the goalposts.
So dominant was Inglis that even when Hoffman knocked down a pass from the Rabbitohs superstar, Souths still managed a try after centre Dylan Walker picked up the loose ball and ran at the line before laying it back in a tackle for Chris McQueen to dive over and score in the 31st minute.
With the defence focused on Inglis and Burgess, there was space out wide and Walker took advantage when he raced 60 metres from the kick-off before being rounded up - only for winger Lote Tuqiri to score in the 34rd minute after Daniel Vidot failed to take another Reynolds kick.
The Broncos never stopped trying and Inglis was required to come up with a try-saving tackle on Jack Reed in the second half, before Test forward Sam Thaiday finally got Brisbane's second try in the 50th minute.
However, it was all the visitors could muster and Inglis finished with as many tries as Brisbane after calmly and simply plucking a Reynolds kick from the air and strolling over to score virtually untouched in the 63rd minute.
He did the same thing eight minutes later but this time handed the ball off for rookie five-eighth Luke Keary to score under the posts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 42 (G Inglis 3 K Auva'a L Keary C McQueen L Tuqiri tries A Reynolds 6 B Lowe goals) Brisbane Broncos 16 (J Hodges J Reed S Thaiday tries C Parker 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, David Munro
- Sydney Morning Herald
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