The game was supposed to be all about a new dawn for the Sydney Roosters and the glorious return of Sonny Bill Williams.
Instead it ended up being the tale of South Sydney’s 28-10 win and showing they’ll certainly be a force to be reckoned with in 2013 and in Greg Inglis the Rabbitohs have arguably the best player in the competition at their disposal.
Inglis was magnificent, having a hand in four of his side’s five tries – three of which were scored by Nathan Merritt.
Forwards Sam Burgess and Ben Te’o were superb for the visitors as was Adam Reynolds, who outshone opposite halfback Mitchell Pearce with an accomplished display.
Williams entered the fray on the 30-minute mark and was greeted with some verbals from Burgess, who then ran over the giant Kiwi, giving him a warm welcome back to the game he walked out on in 2008.
The former Canterbury star did score a late try to add an element of respectability to the scoreline and was solid in defence and will be better for the run.
Souths coach Maguire was delighted with his side’s display and heaped praise on his forwards and Reynolds.
“They (the forwards) were clinical for us. I thought all our front-rowers stood up,” he said.
“The Reyno understands the game and the balance he has between pushing a pass or putting a kick in goal, it’s a big thing for the team.
“Adam’s up there with (the best) with the ability with his kicking. He’s one of the best kickers in the game.”
Roosters coach Trent Robinson bemoaned his side’s ill-discipline but said he was pleased with Williams’ contribution after he played the final 50 minutes.
“It was great to see him back,” Robinson said.
“We saw some stuff where he needs to get used to the game again and then we saw him trying to really push hard to try and get us back into the game as well so I was really pleased.”
“I saw some really good stuff with the ball and some good push and he was looking to create some stuff so I think that’s the Sonny that we know.
“It’s going to take a couple of weeks but it was nice to have him out there.”
Merritt admitted he was unsure if he’d even play the game after being dropped for being late for training before the Charity Shield against St George Illawarra.
“I was pretty sad at the time and I didn’t think I’d get back in the side as Bryson (Goodwin) played well,” Merritt said.
“I thought I was going to start the year in first division and got pretty down on myself.
“It was case of picking myself up and being more professional.”
Chris McQueen and George Burgess also crossed for Souths with James Maloney going over after three minutes for the Roosters.
Michael Jennings was placed on report for a high shot on Beau Champion and Sam Burgess was sanctioned for a shoulder charge on Mitchell Pearce.