South Sydney have withstood a rampaging final 20 minutes from the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks to win their opening round match 22-18 at ANZ Stadium tonight.
The Bunnies were the better team for at least the first hour of the clash, despite conceding a seventh minute penalty goal, they then scored through Adam Reynolds after seven minutes, which the captain and halfback himself converted.
Reynolds added two more penalty goals to push the home side's lead out to 10-2 after 23 minutes, but a professional foul by James Roberts eight minutes before halftime reduced them to just twelve men, and they paid the price quickly.
Just three tackles into the Sharks' following set, Wade Graham found himself with a huge amount of space and dotted down for the visitors' opening try.
Cronulla's defence didn't hold all the way to halftime sadly - Campbell Graham scored out wide just before the siren sounded and Adam Reynolds added the extras for an eight-point halftime buffer.
Ethan Lowe barged over off a deflected kick 8 minutes after the break, pushing the lead to 22-8 and the Bunnies were looking well and truly in charge, but wouldn't add any more points.
Instead, Cronulla shifted gears and from the 63rd minute looked the strong of the two sides. A Sione Katoa double narrowed the gap to just four points and the Rabbitohs were then forced to defend out the match with the barest of leads.
The Sharks looked to have the victory in-hand when quick hands saw Josh Morris cross out wide, but the last pass from Connor Tracey was forward.
Souths played out the game and prevented any more surges from the Sharks to finish four-point winners, and will head to an empty Suncorp to face Brisbane next Friday, while the Sharks host Melbourne next Saturday at Kogarah.