Rabbitohs 28 Roosters 8
South Sydney coach Michael Maguire refused to single out Greg Inglis after his hat-trick of tries helped the Rabbitohs beat the Sydney Roosters 28-8, but lauded the manner of his side's victory over the reigning premiers.
Inglis opened the new campaign in fine style crossing twice in the second half having already gone over in the first.
But Maguire preferred to praise the collective effort of his players who put their meltdown in last year's preliminary final against Manly firmly behind them to run out worthy winners.
"The fact we played for 80 minutes was very pleasing," Maguire said.
"There are quite a number of my players I could single out, John Sutton, Issac Luke and Joe Picker for his first game made a brilliant tackle on big Hargreaves just under the posts to deny a try.
"Right across the team we were good and GI gets to do those things on the back of the team."
However, skipper Sutton was more willing to talk up the Queensland superstar.
"It looks like he's playing in the under-7s at times," he said.
Maguire said the memories of the loss to Manly last September when his side a spurned a 14-0 lead to concede 30 unanswered points before going down 30-20 was firmly behind them but he insisted lessons had been learned.
"We've spoken about a lot in pre-season and we're now looking to this year and if we need to keep playing like we did tonight for the rest of the year," he said.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson had no complaints with the result but said his side had plenty of work in front of them and need to improve quickly before facing Parramatta next week.
"They carried the ball and bumped and dropped to the ground well and got some good, quick play the balls that controlled our carries really well," Robinson said.
"They won the ruck area well and we failed to finish sets in our end and had some errors receiving balls and they got more dominant as the game went on."
"We need to get better."
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.
The second stanza saw the Roosters start the stronger, but Souths regrouped and Inglis crossed for his second before two penalties from Reynolds extended the Rabbitohs' advantage.
Four minutes from time the visitors' dogged resistance was finally cracked when Bryson Goodwin went over before Inglis completed his treble in the final minute.
Teo was put on report for a shoulder charge on Sonny Bill Williams in the first half.