The South Sydney Rabbitohs scored five second half tries to run out 34-18 winners over the St. George Illawarra Dragons in a match played before 10,080 fans at Netstara Jubilee Stadium.
Trailing at halftime as they did last week against the Roosters, the Wayne Bennett coached Rabbitohs proved far too strong for the home side to send a stern warning to the other 15 NRL clubs that they will be hard to beat in 2019.
Surviving an early scare from Dragons second rower Tariq Sims who lost the ball in attempting to score after just two minutes, Rabbitohs lock Cameron Murray (5th minute) gave the visitors opening points after exposing some poor defence around the ruck to finish off a 40-metre run underneath the posts.
Hitting back moments later following a fortuitous repeat set stemming from a Ben Hunt grubber, winger Jordan Pereia (9th minute) touched down in the left corner after receiving a beautiful flick pass from Tim Lafai to level the scores at 6-all with Gareth Widdop's sideline conversion.
Doubling up ten minutes later, Pereira (19th minute) ran onto a beautiful cut-out pass from Corey Norman to give the home side a 10-6 advantage.
In a feisty opening 40 minutes, Widdop extended the lead to a converted try with ten minutes remaining after Rabbitohs prop Liam Knight was placed on report for a chicken wing tackle on James Graham, while Dragons debutant Josh Kerr may find himself in trouble with the review committee after collecting Adam Reynolds late while kicking.
Coming close to scoring late in the first half only to lose possession twice, Sam Burgess (43rd minute) made it two tries in as many weeks to level the scores at 12-all, before chiming in with a superb offload to Cody Walker (46th minute) moments later to turn a six-point deficit into a six-point lead.
Needing to arrest the flow of points Dragons coach Paul McGregor watched on in frustration as his side conceded further tries to Braidon Burns (55th minute) and Campbell Graham (61st minute) as the score blew out to 28-12 with a quarter of the match remaining.
Introducing exciting fullback Matt Dufty into the match shortly after, the much-publicised positional switch failed to inspire the desired comeback for the Dragons as Burgess (70th minute) crossed for his second, before a late consolation effort from Lafai (75th minute) rounded out the scoring at 34-18.
Beginning the season with back-to-back wins for the fifth time since being readmitted into the competition, the Rabbitohs look set to challenge for the premiership if early form is a sign of things to come, while the Dragons will need to reassess their spine based on the first two matches of 2019 if they hope to qualify for the finals.
Next Thursday the Dragons travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Broncos, while the Rabbitohs host their first home game of 2019 at ANZ Stadium against the Titans on Sunday evening.