[Source: South Sydney Rabbitohs/ Facebook]
South Sydney proved too strong for Cronulla in an error-riddled but entertaining clash to start their 2023 season on a winning note, claiming a 27-18 win at PointsBet Stadium.
The victory will be especially pleasing for the Rabbitohs who had to overcome a heavy injury toll early in the game, with both Tavita Tatola and Jai Arrow unable to finish the match.
Arrow was reported in the broadcast to have suffered a hamstring injury, while Tatola failed his HIA after a head clash in the opening minute of the game while taking a hit up ended his night.
Played in front of a sold-out crowd at PointsBet Stadium, the Sharks were in the match in the first half, despite many downplaying their chances with reigning Dally M Medal winner Nicho Hynes out with a calf strain.
However, fill-in number seven Braydon Trindall made the most of his time in the jumper in the first half, with his kicking game both in general play and converting tries – as well as an impressive try-scoring effort of his own – keeping the side in touch with an aggressive Bunnies outfit.
His opposite number Lachlan Ilias also impressed early, saving a try and scoring a try within minutes. His desperate effort denied Ronaldo Mulitalo in one corner before he then opened the scoring for the game on the other side of the field in the ninth minute.
Campbell Graham, fresh from a debut appearance as part of the Rugby League World Cup-winning Kangaroos squad continued on his try-scoring ways in the match, with his second-half double sealing the deal for the visiting side.
Latrell Mitchell, who had earlier in the match caused a ripple of concern when he went down and was later limping, iced the result with a field goal in the 79th minute.