New in 2013, we'll be releasing an Infographic for each match for an insight into the key stats out of each match - win or lose. Members will receive this content, through our Members Lounge, the day after each match for the first-look each week.


Download the Round 1 Infographic here


It's back. The 2013 NRL season has kicked off with traditional arch-rivals Sydney Roosters falling to the South Sydney Rabbitohs. It had been one of the most eagerly anticipated season openers of all time, and the 34 players did not disappoint.


Played in front of a record crowd for round one fixtures in Sydney, the Rabbitohs confirmed their premiership credentials with a methodical 28-10 win over their oldest enemy. Unlike the 2012 encounters, there would be no heroic fight back, with Souths rarely looking headed.


Adam Reynolds wished he was back in 2012, after his first kick of the season sailed out on the full. One minute later, things got worse for the second year halfback, as a ball from Mitchell Pearce ricocheted off his hands straight into the arms of new recruit James Maloney. The former Warrior gleefully accepted the gift, strolling over untouched to hand the Bondi boys the first try of 2013. Unfortunately he couldn't add the extras.


There was no feeling out period in this one, as the Rabbitohs took just five minutes to hit back. A slick movement to the left edge caught the Roosters short, with Greg Inglis picking out a flying Nathan Merritt to level the scores. Reynolds made up for his earlier errors with a textbook conversion from the sideline to give Souths a two point lead.


Roger Tuivasa-Sheck gave NRL fans a taste of what's to come in his exciting career when he almost ran the length of the field following an exemplary bomb defusal. He then crossed in the next set for what looked like his first try, only for the referees to rule a knock on in the build up.


After what seemed an eternity of possession and field position, the Rabbitohs finally extended the lead via the tried and tested Nathan Merritt. An Adam Reynolds kick was caught by Chris McQueen who offloaded the ball to Inglis. The fullback then got a miraculous ball away to Merritt who crossed on the same blade of grass as his first try. The conversion couldn't have been any straighter.


With 29 minutes gone, the NRL got what it had been waiting for; the return of SBW. The raucous reception gave the Roosters a much needed lift, and it showed, with the defence forcing an error almost from the kick off. Martin Kennedy looked likely to barge over from close range, but the ball came free with the try line beckoning.


On the back of a 6-1 penalty count, the Rabbitohs pressed for a third try as the half time siren neared. With a minute to go, Reynolds once again went to the air in search of Inglis, who managed to bat the ball back for the much improved McQueen to cross in the newly named "Merritt" corner. Low and behold, Reynolds missed the kick to leave the score 16-4 at the break.


The second half started as the first forty ended. Another penalty put the Bunnies on the attack, and once again, they managed to cross the stripe. John Sutton held up three defenders, before popping an offload for young Englishman George Burgess to barge over for his first try in the NRL.


A peach of a ball from Maloney put fellow newcomer Michael Jennings into a gaping hole. Sadly for the Roosters, the final pass went to the ground, ending what looked like a certain try. Two minutes later and it looked like Aidan Guerra had scored via some freakish skills from Tupou, Williams and Jennings. Alas, the Souths defence remained resolute, managing to hold the back-rower up in the in-goal.


Just when it looked like Jennings was through again, the referees called the Roosters back for an obstruction back on halfway. The ensuing set couldn't have gone more to script. Souths receive penalty, spread the ball to the left, and Inglis once again sets up Merritt in the corner. Hat-trick for the winger, and a more than handy 28-4 lead.


It might have taken 75 minutes, but SBW reminded the NRL community of what he can do, when the Kiwi international stamped his return to the game with a consolation try courtesy of a lovely short ball from Nuuausala. It capped off a solid return for Williams, who was playing his first game in the NRL since leaving the Bulldogs in 2008.


There were a couple of positives for the Roosters, with Maloney and Jennings impressing in their first hit out in the red, white and blue. At the end of the day, the kicking game of Reynolds, the finishing of Merritt and the classy Inglis proved too much for the Roosters, who will be looking for a much better result next week against the Warriors.