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Souths too good as SBW makes NRL comeback

Last updated 00:30 08/03/2013
Sonny Bill Williams
GETTY
COMEBACK: Sonny Bill Williams made his NRL comeback for the Roosters.

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South Sydney underlined their NRL premiership credentials in the opening round of the season with an impressive 28-10 win over the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night.

The return of Sonny Bill Williams and the Roosters' recruitment  of big-name stars Michael Jennings and James Maloney dominated the  build-up but Souths' superstars took the plaudits in front of a  crowd of 35,942 at Allianz Stadium.

A hat-trick of tries from Nathan Merritt laid the foundations  for the victory along with Greg Inglis, who had hand in four of his  side's five tries.

Williams marked his debut with a try late in the game - his  first since July 7 2008, but it was nothing more than a  consolation.

Young halfback Adam Reynolds outshone his opposite number  Mitchell Pearce with an assured performance and Sam Burgess and Ben  Te'o dominated the Roosters much-vaunted pack.

The crowd were on their feet after three minutes when Maloney  marked his Roosters debut with a try.

However, the response from the Rabbitohs was swift, as man of  the match Inglis blazed his way deep into Roosters territory before  releasing Merritt with a bullet of a pass.

The prolific winger raced to the line for the 130th try in Souths colours.

That kick-started the Souths forwards into action and they were  rewarded when Merritt doubled his tally on the half-hour mark.

A teasing bomb from Reynolds was flicked into the path of  Inglis, who found Dylan Farrell in space and the young centre  offloaded for Merritt to score.

The setback prompted Roosters coach Trent Robinson to throw  Williams into the fray for the first time since his controversial  exit from Canterbury in 2008.

The Kiwi was greeted with a some heated words from Burgess, who  then ran straight over the Rugby World Cup winner, much to the  delight of the Rabbitohs supporters.

Souths continued from where they left off at the break,  dominating in attack as the Roosters ill-discipline continued to  let them down in addition to a number of basic errors.

The arrival of giant George Burgess from the bench added some  extra beef to the Souths go-forward and the younger brother of Sam  showed his potential with some powerful runs with the ball.

Six minutes after the break the Englishman scored his first NRL  try when he bulldozed his way under the posts to end the game as a  contest.

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Merritt scored his third on the hour with Inglis once again the  instigator to add some extra gloss, before Williams, who was  quietly effective in his 50 minutes on the pitch, hauled in a  Frank-Paul Nuuausala pass to race under the posts.

Reynolds kicked four goals, with Maloney kicking one for the  Roosters.

Jennings was put on report just before the interval for a high  shot on Beau Champion as was Sam Burgess for a high shot on Pearce.

- AAP

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