Bennett's Bunnies topple Roosters at SCG

Wayne Bennett has celebrated his first match as South Sydney coach with an impressive 26-16 takedown of reigning NRL premiers the Sydney Roosters.

The Rabbitohs were down 12-10 at halftime in their season-opener at the patched-up SCG but made their arch-rivals pay for an error-riddled display.

Adam Reynolds twice set up tries by grubber-kicking into the upright and sealed the victory with a third try assist for Alex Johnston in an eye-catching effort.

"He's one of the best kickers in the game so we were completing sets really good and gave him opportunity to kick the ball," Bennett said of Reynolds' game.

"He made a real difference of his kicking game but that was the benefit of controlling the football. We got some tries off (his kicking game)."

Tempers flared not long after Johnston's try when Cody Walker pushed Cooper Cronk in the chest after taking exception to some words from the veteran No. 7.

And soon there was blood spilt after Latrell Mitchell and Dane Gagai, who were at each other's throats for most of the night, clashed heads late in the contest.

But in the end it was the Rabbitohs who claimed a knockout win in front of a crowd of 24,527 who braved the miserable weather.

Both teams struggled to control the ball in the slippery conditions, however the Roosters shot themselves in the foot with mistakes deep in their own half.

All up, Trent Robinson's side only completed just over half their 36 sets.

And while the Rabbitohs still spurned another four opportunities, the weight of possession was simply too much for a gallant Roosters defence.

The visitors took the lead when Campbell Graham beat Cronk's cover tackle in the 48th minute to kickstart a telling 12-minute spurt.

The Roosters should've regained the advantage not long after when Boyd Cordner found himself in the clear, but the ball was dislodged by Sam Burgess.

Walker sealed the win when he pounced on one of Reynolds' kicks before Johnston put the finishing touches on a statement victory.

Much of the build-up centred on the changes Bennett made to his line-up, including Greg Inglis' move to the right edge.

However while the Rabbitohs skipper was solid, it was Sam Burgess' shift to the same flank, together with Cameron Murray's starting call-up that paid off.

Both players grabbed a try each in the first half, and were influential in what, on first impressions, is quickly becoming a formidable outfit.

The 26 points is the most the Roosters had conceded since going down to Brisbane, formerly coached by Bennett, in May last year.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson bemoaned his team's poor ball control, as well as their defence on last-tackle plays.

"We cost ourselves with possession and we were defending fairly well but on last plays (Reynolds) out kicked us," Robinson said.

"He put us under pressure on those last plays. They had four tries at the end of sets and that was disappointing from us."