Roosters ransack the Rabbitohs
The South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Monday, March 5th, 2012. The Roosters won the game 24-20. Photography by Brendan Esposito. Photo: brendan esposito
That's it from me tonight. Thanks for your company and we'll be back with round two in four way-too-long days. In the meantime, keep your browser tuned to smh.com.au for Australia's best sports news and analysis.
Burgess gets the cash as man of the match. Doubtless he'd give it back, and then some, for the two points.
No Monday Night Football record crowd at ANZ tonight with 18,278 on hand. The Roosters fans, seemingly in the minority on the ground, will be going home happy. Among them may well be Phil Mitchell, colleague and Roosters tragic who will be back in the chair as round two kicks off on Friday night. For all the washup from tonight's match be sure to grab tomorrow's Herald or log on to smh.com.au
A match for the big men tonight. Hard to go past Sam Burgess as man-of-the-match until the final minutes - Cordner was sensational if the judges don't want to go to the losing side.
What a finish. Second-rower Boyd Cordner may have been a playmaker in a past life - that was sensational. Heartbreaking for Souths, the Roosters looked down and out with just two minutes to go. A fantastic way to wrap up round one with the Roosters home 24-20.
79 min: Minichiello has done it for the Roosters. Unbelievable. Going upstairs but it looks good to me. All comes courtesy of a Cordner break and kick. Roosters 22-20.
79 min: Roosters need to go 90m to score here.
78 min: Mortimer adds the extras. Souths still ahead 20-18. The fat lady may be warming up but she's not game to give us a tune yet.
78 min: TRY? And stink! Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has crossed the line but now it's on. Silly stuff as it's just wasting time with a kick to come and still down four points.
77 min: Roosters penalty. High shot on Justin Carney from Eddy Pettybourne. Surely the last shot for the Roosters
77 min: Reynolds punches it over the Roosters' dead-ball line.
76 min: Souths back in possession after a needless kick from Mitchell Aubusson. That sort of play won't have anyone running scared...
76 min: Martin Kennedy drags three Souths' tacklers over their 20m line. Good position here.
75 min: Dave Taylor gives away a penalty. Just a sniff for the Roosters? Has to happen now.
Time is running out here if the Roosters are going to pull a rabbit (boom boom!) out of the hat. Souths make some handy metres through Chris McQueen.
72 min: Souths back in possession inside the Roosters' half.
71 min: Carney takes it up again for the Roosters. Already three tackles down and barely outside their own 20m. If something is going to happen for the Tricolours the time is now.
70 min: Boyd Cordner gets caught with the pill on the last tackle, turnover and Souths are at it again.
68 min: PENALTY- Michael Crocker concedes one and gives the Roosters their first boost of the second half. Mose Masoe brings them within 40m of the Bunnies' line.
67 min: Souths win the scrum and Matt King takes the first hit-up. Sutton has gone off for Fetuli Talanoa
66 min: There's round one jitters and then there's this match. Mortimer spills it just metres out from the Souths' line. More headaches for Brian Smith.
65 min: Sutton gets an intercept but dutifully gives it straight back through a knock-on. Roosters on the counter-attack.
Still 20-12 to Souths as the final quarter-hour mark approaches.
63 min: Burgess loses the ball for Souths. He's not happy about it either - Pearce deserves an assist for that one.
61 min: Farrell fields a massive Pearce bomb and is taken out by Minichiello, who was knocked off-stride by Crocker. Work that one out. In any case, Souths get the penalty.
60 min: Roosters win the scrum and go on the offensive through Carney.
59 min: Bit of justice for the Roosters? Roy Asotasi spills it on the second tackle.
59 min: Roosters penalised again. Friend penalised for lifting Michael Crocker - a touch harsh in my view. It's a man's game!
It'll be the furthest thing from the mind for either side but, incidentally, a win of 18 or more would be enough to put Souths on top of the table after round one.
56 min: Fifth tackle for Souths and the kick rolls dead. Back to the 20 for the Roosters.
Frank-Paul Nuuausala is back for the Roosters, can he spark something?
55 min: Reynolds almost finds a gap on the last before being pinned down. Turnover and the Roosters are 50m out.
It seems like the Roosters have barely had the ball in the second half as Souths drive upfield once more.
53 min: Burgess is in the thick of everything - another crunching hit, this time on Mini.
51 min: GOAL- Souths out beyond a converted try now. Reynolds kicks the penalty. Souths 20-12.
50 min: Minichiello makes a meal of the Reynolds bomb as Burgess charged toward him and now it's a penalty to Souths. Brian Smith won't be happy with the Roosters' discipline. Souths look to extend the lead to eight.
49 min: Roosters try the shot kick-off and can't pull it off. Souths with the ball in hand again.
49 min: Reynolds lands the conversion and the Rabbitohs lead 18-12. It's been all Souths in the early exchanges of this second term.
47 min: TRY - I've done it again. Some lovely cut-out balls see John Sutton cross for the Bunnies' third try. 16-12 Souths. Kick to come and Reynolds should make no mistake.
Still no change seven minutes into the second half. 12-12 at ANZ Stadium.
46 min: Burgess at it again - knocking the ball loose from Perrett to give Souths a scrum 40m out from the Roosters' line.
45 min: Inglis almost finds the gap 50m out and is brought down - could have been a penalty for a high tackle. Rabbitohs fans not happy.
45 min: Matt King gets onto a Pearce kick and gets back to the 20m line for Souths
44 min: BJ Leilua diffuses things for the Roosters - bit of a let-off really.
42 min: Rabbitohs fullback Dylan Farrell handles the pressure to field a high ball. Another penalty to Souths - still 12-12
41 min: John Sutton's kick is easily fielded by Minichiello.
40 min: The sound of another great Sydney institution - AC/DC - gives way to the referee's whistle as Mitchell Pearce gets us up and running for the second half.
Teams making their way back out for the second half. Michael Maguire has told his Rabbitohs to focus on the simple things, while Brian Smith has told the Roosters they need to match the Bunnies' intensity. Frank-Paul Nuuausala left the field late in the first term and it remains to be seen whether he'll be back.
And Roosters rake Jake Friend might be thirstier than most. 25 tackles to his name already.
So we're all locked up at 12-apiece as the players hit the sheds for the half-time break. They'll be chugging the water and, frankly, so will I. This is thirsty work! Back soon with the second half. Could we be heading for our third golden-point match in the first round alone?
40 min: The siren sounds as Greg Inglis gives Aubusson something to think about at the break. Another crunching hit.
Yet another error and we'll finish the half off with a Roosters scrum. Souths won't want to do anything silly here.
39 min: Jason Clark forces the error and Souths will have the last say in this first half.
Souths have had the majority of the ball but have been a touch wasteful - completing 13/19 sets compared to the Roosters' 11/15
38 min: Matt King spills it just metres out and a try goes begging. Welcome back to the NRL.
37 min: Souths probing the Roosters line
37 min: Guerra knocks on for the Roosters. Will his efforts cancel out his earlier try? Big scrum here for Souths
36 min: Burgess puts another big hit on. Justin Carney is the recipient this time. Painful to see.
34 min: Reynolds makes no mistake. 12-12 and the No.7 would be happy with his performance so far.
33 min: Another penalty in the play-the-ball, again going the way of Souths. Will they take the two and lock things up? Looks like it.
32 min: A let-off for Souths as the Roosters give away another penalty. Nathan Peats gets us started again just shy of the 50m line
32 min: No try ruled.
Sam Burgess has positioned himself perfectly, getting his left arm under the ball. He's saved a try for his side.
It looks like Roy has been held up, but that's not for your humble blogger to decide.
31 min: Mitchell Aubusson over the line for the Roosters but we're going upstairs.
31 min: And another set.
31 min: Roosters just metres out now.
30 min: Roosters penalty. Dave Taylor hit for a dangerous throw on Boyd Cordner. Will we hear more about this one?
30 min: Reynolds puts just a bit too much on that grubber. Roosters restart from the 20m
29 min: Souths win their own scrum (surely not) and go on the attack again
28 min: Sam Perrett knocks on for the Roosters. Perhaps a bit unlucky - it looked like he had some help from big Dave Taylor.
Another change for Souths. Crocker off and Jason Clark on.
Change for Souths - Sam Geddes on for Roy Asotasi
24 min: TRY - It's a moot point as Mitchell Pearce launches a kick into the in-goal. It's looking a bit like AFL here as Aidan Guerra outleaps his opponent to score the Roosters' second. Mortimer adds the extras to give the Roosters the lead 12-10.
24 min: Not even close. Resuming with the last for the Roosters.
24 min: Pearce just inches out from the try-line. But we're going upstairs to see if a try has already been scored. Your guess is as good as mine.
23 min: Sam Perrett takes it up for the boys from Bondi. A chance to hit back here.
23 min: Penalty to the Roosters.
21 min: Reynolds fails to add the extras. Score remains 10-6 to the Bunnies.
20 min: TRY- Chris McQueen leaps to take a Reynolds kick and bags the Rabbitohs' second. No first-game nerves from the half here - that was a perfect kick. Rabbitohs 10-6, kick to come. And it all came from that penalty.
20 min: Last tackle for Souths.
Still 6-6 here. Rabbitohs on the attack.
18 min: Penalty to the Rabbitohs. Roosters defenders staying on Greg Inglis a bit too long.
17 min: Souths making good ground with the return set. Reynolds looks for the sideline on the fifth but unfortunately finds it on the full.
15 min: Reynolds converts for his first NRL points. All locked up here 6-6
14 min: TRY- Michael Crocker barges over for Souths from a quick tap from a penalty. Reynolds had kicked for the corner in the lead-up. Roosters 6-4, kick to come.
13 min: Rabbitohs field a Pearce kick just over the halfway line, good field position. Can they make something of it?
11 min: And Asotasi knocks on this time just metres out from the Roosters line. Sydney's big wet has disappeared today so no excuses there.
10 min: John Sutton finds the gap. Rabbitohs looking threatening
9 min: Better set from Souths here. Good metres through Matt King, Michael Crocker, Eddy Pettybourne and Sam Burgess
Not looking good for the Rabbitohs early. Have failed to complete either of their sets thus far and the scoreboard tells the story.
7 min: Kick from Mortimer successful. 6-0 Roosters
5 min: TRY- Lama Tasi crashes over under the black dot from 10m out. Roosters 4-0 with a kick to come
5 min: Minichiello almost finds a gap before some frantic offloads lead to our first try.
4 min: Rabbitohs knock-on inside their own 40. Golden opportunity for the Roosters early.
4 min: Rabbitohs win the scrum 10 metres out from their own line
Welcome to all our readers. A debutant blogger in the seat tonight but all eyes will be on another first-timer - Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds who fills the red and green No.7 jersey worn by some of the game's greats in his top-grade debut. Pressure much?
3 min: Roy Asotasi knocks on for Souths courtesy of a big hit
2 min: Mitchell Pearce puts a driving kick into the Rabbits' in-goal. Back to the 20 for the restart.
1 min: Souths get us under way. Waerea-Hargreaves takes first hit-up.
Teams making their way down the tunnels at ANZ now.
Not long to go now as kickoff for the 204th clash between these two proud clubs looms. Team news for both sideswith Nathan Merritt ruled out for the Rabbitohs and skipper Braith Anasta out for the Roosters. Daniel Mortimer's return to first grade just got that bit tougher filling Anasta's shoes.
Join me at 7pm as we head to ANZ Stadium for the clash between the Rabbitohs and Roosters.