South Sydney have maintained their perfect beginning to this season with a tense 17-12 victory over Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in front of a record breaking crowd of 51,686 fans at ANZ Stadium.
A large crowd had made their way to the Olympic stadium and they were greeted by a high quality game by two of the premierships top teams. Both teams felt their way into the contest, using their kicking game to pin both Inglis and Barba back.
Canterbury settled first forcing a dropout then playing some hot potato football on the six again call to go from right to left sending it to Tony Williams who offloaded to Mitch Brown to dive over for the opening try of an entertaining contest.
Rabbitohs dragged themselves back into the game with some smart kicks from young half, Adam Reynolds who curtailed the effect the Bulldogs back three had which allowed Inglis to work into the game. An inside ball to George Burgess on the rampage gave Souths their try following a pair of dropouts. Reynolds made no mistake and it was 6 all and an arm wrestle.
It was an enthralling game being played at pace with halftime needed to give players and spectators a breather.
The second continued on how the first half ended, both teams using their forwards to create space with offloads for their smaller men. In the 58th minute, South Sydney were in again off a tricky set play where Reynolds found prolific try-scorer Merritt who strolled in.
From there, it was all South Sydney who were rolling through a tiring Bulldogs side and crashing the welcome home parade for Ben Barba. It was the former Bulldog who sealed the match on the 72nd minute though, as Bryson Goodwin finished off a move started by Greg Inglis, making it 16-6 with not long to play.
Adam Reynolds added some field goal practice with his cheeky field goal in the 78th minute to add to his man of the match performance also replicating what may be needed down the road in a finals contest.
The last word in the contest went to Ben Barba who wasn't kept off the scoresheet, getting the Bulldogs second and his first for the season off a scrum bomb that bounced into his hands for the consolation try. The try giving Bulldogs fans something to smile about besides the record breaking, single game round of 51,686.