Robbie Farah was restored to the Rabbitohs' starting line-up for the first time in almost two months and strengthened his once tenuous grip on the NSW No.9 jersey as the old Tiger had the last laugh on his old club.
Adam Reynolds also made an 11th-hour pitch for a State of Origin recall – despite being long odds to withstand an almost irresistible case from Mitchell Pearce – as South Sydney staged a 58-point turnaround in a fortnight to thump the Tigers 28-8 at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
Shunted out the door after a struggle with ex-Tigers coach Jason Taylor – who was fired within the first month of the season – Farah privately would have felt satisfied his Blues cause finally gained traction against a club he never thought he would line up against.
Comprehensively whacked in round one, the Rabbitohs turned the tables on an Aaron Woods-less Tigers who lost an agitated Ava Seumanufagai to the sin bin for attempting to punch Farah in the first half and never recovered.
And it was Farah – with a major helping hand from Cody Walker – at the heart of a polished performance from the enigmatic Rabbitohs.
Reynolds, who was Laurie Daley's first-choice halfback last year before succumbing to injury for the dead rubber, was his usual calming influence as Walker fired two inch-perfect passes to set up Alex Johnston's double.
Farah bobbled an awkward Luke Brooks kick for the Tigers' only try to Elijah Taylor, but was otherwise faultless throwing the last ball for Sam Burgess' brace as Damien Cook cooled his heels on the bench for more than 60 minutes.
It was the first time the 33-year-old had played the entire 80 minutes since the opening round and he taunted the Tigers for large parts with an all-action display of passing, running and deft kicking.
Pockets of the Tigers fans turned boo boys again after their team's insipid first half, which didn't get a great deal better after the break as the enormity of Ivan Cleary's task became apparent.
Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire made seven positional changes to his starting side after the pre-representative round hiding at the hands of the Sea Eagles – and it worked.
The man at the centre of the shake-up, Walker, provided the only memorable highlight in an opening quarter mired with mistakes, the five-eighth-cum-fullback setting up the man he replaced in the No.1, Johnston, for the first try.
Then in a half full of brain fades came the biggest one of them all. Sharks-bound Seumanufagai glanced the top of Farah's head with a punch after taking exception to the hooker's antics in a tackle and was marched to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
The Tigers did their best to run down the clock in his absence – Mitchell Moses potting a penalty goal to reduce the margin to two points – but Farah immediately took full advantage.
Relishing his role as the side's primary hooker, he skipped out of dummy-half close to the line to send a rampaging Burgess over from close range.
The big Englishman had a hand in a pivotal try right in the shadows of half-time as his link-up play with Reynolds sent Angus Crichton bearing down on Origin shoo-in James Tedesco, who was left flat footed by the Rabbitohs rising star.
And from there it was going to be a mountain to climb for Cleary's men.
Taylor scrambled over to breathe life back into an uninspiring contest, but the Bunnies just turned the clock back to the first half.
The outstanding Walker set up Johnston again, mirrored when Farah schemed out of dummy-half to send Burgess crashing over for his own double.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 28 (Alex Johnston 2, Sam Burgess 2, Angus Crichton tries; Adam Reynolds 4 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 8 (Elijah Taylor try; Mitchell Moses 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referees: Henry Perenara, Chris James. Crowd: 12,213.