South Sydney roll Broncos with big second half
South Sydney sent another warning to their NRL rivals that the club's 42-year premiership wait could be over with an aggressive 26-12 win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
What made the 14-point win so impressive was it came just seven days after engaging in a brutal 80-minute battle with Manly.
However to their credit, Brisbane refused to submit when the floodgates looked like opening early in the second half.
Souths led 8-0 early but trailed 12-8 at half-time after Brisbane hit back with late tries to five-eighth Scott Prince - his first since returning to the club - and centre Jack Reed.
An upset was on the cards in front of a bumper crowd of 39,111 but Souths roared out of the blocks in the second half, piling on 18 unanswered points in the space of 15 minutes.
Fullback Greg Inglis ignited the blitz in the 45th minute, hurtling onto the ball 10 metres out like a runaway freight train with Brisbane's last line of defence, fullback Corey Norman and big Dave Hala, powerless to stop him.
Four minutes later a poor last play chip option straight into Inglis's safe hands triggered a super try 95 metres down field to winger Nathan Merritt, who dumbfounded his rivals out of dummy half with a thief-in-the-night try.
The visitors final try was the softest, big John Sutton strolling through a yawning gap in the 53rd minute to make it 26-12.
To their credit, Brisbane stemmed the flood of points for the last 27 minutes while testing Souths defence several times.
But Souths' sheer size and power up front, their relentlessness and superior ruck speed and Inglis's class were the difference.
Brisbane missed the experience of centre Justin Hodges, especially when Souths came out so hard in the second half.
The win, their sixth of the season on the road, moved Souths into a share of the premiership lead with Melbourne and added further weight to predictions the club could win their first premiership since 1971.
The accolades flowed from both sides for Inglis' dominant display.
"He goes alright back there," said a smiling Souths coach Michael Maguire, before Rabbitohs' captain John Sutton chipped in with "he's a freak".
Brisbane skipper Sam Thaiday said on form Inglis was the best player in the game.
"Greg has found a home at fullback, he punished us tonight," said Thaiday.
"Souths are a great side, particularly with him (Inglis) at the back."
Thaiday said Brisbane needed to get tougher and more ruthless to beat the top sides.
"They were tougher than we were, we weren't tough at all," he said.
"We need to get a bit of mongrel in us and fight to win games."
South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 (J Clark G Inglis N Merritt J Sutton tries A Reynolds 5 goals) Brisbane Broncos 12 (S Prince J Reed tries S Prince 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Shayne Hayne, Gerard Sutton. Crowd: 39,111