The South Sydney versus Brisbane clash at ANZ Stadium was billed as the game of the season, but Wayne Bennett turned it into one-way 38-6 traffic, trampling the visitors with six tries to one.
In the process, Souths went to the top of the NRL table, boasting the biggest differential in points for and against of 81.
Halfback Adam Reynolds is top of the points-scorers – 70, over Rooster Latrell Mitchell’s 69 – and top of the goal-kickers with 33 (over Mitchell’s 28).
And to complete the positive picture, Cody Walker’s double last night took him to the top of the try-scorers, with nine, over Bronco Corey Oates’ eight.
Bennett turned the coaching swap of the year into a heavyweight-bantamweight rout.
Last year, Anthony Seibold coached the Bunnies into the playoffs on debut to earn the coveted Dally M coach of the year award.
When Bennett was sacked via voicemail as Broncos coach, after winning six premierships through 627 games, the two clipboard holders swapped clubs.
After eight rounds, Bennett has won seven, Seibold two.
And judging by last night, the younger man has a mountain to climb to even be competitive, let alone pocket two points.
He was forced into playing 18-year-old halfback Tom Dearden on debut, while skipper Darius Boyd played his 300th.
Dearden was five when Boyd debuted with the Broncos in 2006, yet the blond-haired youngster proved he’s a mighty tough competitor, despite having precious little protection from his forwards.
Dearden will make it, but Seibold must be anxious about the form of his senior players.
Bennett has no such worries, even to the point where he smiled in the coaches box during the game.
Most coaches would feel the pinch when a world-class footballer like Greg Inglis hangs up his boots far earlier than expected.
Not Wayne Bennett.
He has a captain in Sam Burgess who is not only in career-best form, but grows an extra leg leading from the front.
It helps Burgess that Bennett has coached him for England, so they had a solid, stand-up start.
But the skipper has in-form supports, second to none.
Hooker Damien Cook is always dangerous in attack, but also made 47 tackles last night.
‘Little’ bother Tom Burgess ran 216 destructive metres in half a game, while Reynolds ran 70 metres for an intercept try, plus landed seven goals for an 18-point haul.
Throw in the likes of Alex Johnston, Dane Gagai and John Sutton, ageless at 34, and the Bunnies are off and running.
Three try-scorers last night imitated Inglis’ goanna crawl after touching down, but not Sutton. It was more like a very old alligator – but then he’s a rugby league senior citizen.
At 69 nobody is more senior than Wayne Bennett, and he has many more years to show why he’s still one of the best in the business.
And, in time, to become a deserved rugby league Immortal.