The Sydney Roosters showed why they are favoured to successfully defend their NRL title by crushing the South Sydney Rabbitohs last night.

The Bunnies were battered right from the start, with the Roosters scoring their first try in the second minute on the way to leading 10-0 after 10 minutes and 26-0 at halftime.

Souths had twice recovered from halftime deficits to beat the Roosters this year, in the first and last rounds of the regular season, but only their most delusional fans would have seen a way back from this first-half pummelling.

It was hard to believe the Rabbitohs had beaten the Roosters just eight days earlier, such was the dominance of the champions in front of 30,000 fans last night as they cruised to their ninth straight win at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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The Roosters showed the kind of form which saw them win seven in a row before their 16-10 loss to Souths last Thursday.

The victory kicks off the season's NRL playoffs and moves the Roosters to within one game of a record eighth final this century.

The Rabbitohs will next weekend play the winner of tonight's Sea Eagles-Sharks elimination match.

The only cloud for the Roosters was Boyd Cordner's first-half exit with a leg injury, albeit one which didn't look too serious.

The first two minutes of the match set the tone. Souths fullback Alex Johnston dropped the kickoff and the Roosters capitalised, with Kiwis centre Joseph Manu spinning in the tackle to score in the right corner.

Prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves excelled against a Souths pack missing the suspended Sam Burgess, helping lay the platform for Cooper Cronk and Luke Keary to control the match.

Mitchell Aubusson touched down in the same corner after 10 minutes after a sharp set play.

Cordner scored the third after 25 minutes, put through a gap by Keary, and Siosiua Taukeiaho dived on a loose ball in goal for his side's fourth try after half an hour.

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Even when Souths finally got a sniff of the tryline, they were punished.

Rabbitohs wing Adam Doueihi was tackled into touch by Cronk diving for the corner, and two minutes later, fullback James Tedesco was up the other end scoring a 35th-minute try for the Roosters.

Having done the hard work in the first half, the Roosters added just one more try midway through the second, Latrell Mitchell crossing after a Cronk 40/20.

Adam Reynolds scored the game's final try to give the scoreline a slightly less humiliating slant for Souths.

Roosters 30 (Joseph Manu, Mitchell Aubusson, Boyd Cordner, Siosiua Taukeiaho, James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell tries; Mitchell 2 cons, pen)
Rabbitohs 6 (Adam Reynolds try, con).
HT: 26-0.