NRL: Origin rivals flourish together as Rabbitohs win

Nathan Merritt of the Rabbitohs heads for the try line. Photo / Getty Images
Nathan Merritt of the Rabbitohs heads for the try line. Photo / Getty Images

South Sydney 32
Canberra 2

State of Origin rivals Greg Inglis and Nathan Merritt flourished in the same side as South Sydney opened up a five-point lead on top of the NRL ladder with a crushing 32-2 win over Canberra last night.

The classy Rabbitohs scored six tries - three in each half - in steady rain at ANZ Stadium in Sydney to underline why they are a major title contender.

Souths had Chris McQueen withdraw before the game and their other Queensland Origin forward Ben Te'o limped off after 35 minutes, but nothing could derail the South Sydney express.

Fullback Inglis, who was one of the Queenslanders who tormented NSW debutant Merritt on Wednesday night, turned in a typically busy performance.

He was one of the first to congratulate and embrace Merritt after the winger put his Origin travails behind him to score a try in the 59th minute.

Further tries to centres Bryson Goodwin and Dylan Walker rounded off a comprehensive Rabbitohs' display.

Canberra's away record for the season slumped to 1-8, as they failed to capitalise on a good start.

Things looked to be going the visitors' way when Jarrod Croker kicked a fifth-minute penalty to open the scoring and Souths appeared to have a perfectly good try to Goodwin rubbed out for a forward pass.

Canberra had winger Sami Sauiluma placed on report for a shoulder charge on Jeff Lima in the first half and failed to take advantage of some pressure early in the second.

South Sydney 32 (S Burgess, B Goodwin, J Hunt, I Luke, N Merritt, D Walker tries; A Reynolds 3, B Goodwin goals) bt Canberra 2 (J Croker goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referees: Ben Cummins, Chris James.

- AAP

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