Luke Kelly of the Rabbitohs is tackled by Luke Brooks of the Tigers.
Luke Kelly of the Rabbitohs is tackled by Luke Brooks of the Tigers. DAVID MOIR

Tedesco sparkles as Tigers hammer Souths

GREG Inglis was a one-legged "passenger" for the best part of an hour, but his coach Michael Maguire has strongly defended his decision to leave the superstar on the park.

The Rabbitohs were thrashed 34-18 by Wests Tigers in their opening game of the season, a loss made worse by the knee injury to Inglis and a concussion to centre Hymel Hunt.

Inglis appeared to twist his knee on the wet surface in the eighth minute at Olympic Stadium.

However, Maguire said it wasn't the fullback's troublesome knee that was causing him problems.

"It is actually his good knee," Maguire said.

"Everyone keeps talking about his knee but it is his other knee. I have some very good staff and they were obviously in conversation with Greg right throughout the game.

"Greg felt it was actually getting better. He thought he could stay out there. There was a point in the second half when we thought it was no longer worth pursuing, so we pulled him off."

Inglis also agreed with the decision to stay on the field.

He laid on the first try of the match with a nicely timed pass for Bryson Goodwin to score, and then on the stroke of halftime he hobbled after Cody Walker's crossfield kick to touch down.

"Me, personally, I felt I could actually get through it," he said after the match.

"But there were two plays in that second half where I couldn't really do anything.

"It is probably one of the worst feelings, to be out there and be a passenger.

"Shattering. I just had to get back up. One thing we do here at this club is obviously put our hand up and do the best we can.

"It is just one of those things that just happen. I came down and landed on it the wrong way."

Forget the scorecard, with the Bunnies bolstered by two late tries. This was a shellacking.

James Tedesco, Luke Brooks, David Nofoaluma and Mitch Moses threw wet weather footy to the wind with some truly special play.

Even front-row colossus Aaron Woods had some fun, showing off some fleet feet to spark the Tigers first try, one that went through several pairs of hands and set the tone for the night.

A 42nd minute four-pointer started 80 metres downfield with Tedesco, was finished by Moses and buried Souths all in one.

Robbie Farah's first showdown with the Tigers ended on the same note as his storied career at the joint-venture: awfully.

But the Tigers, they built again on the promise shown last year once Taylor bit the bullet and dropped Farah for good.

Attack has never really been their issue though. And Farah did offer stouter resistance than many where they needed it most: defence.

That will be tested further in the future. For this 80 minutes at least, the Tigers new era was red hot.

It was a rubbish night for the Rabbitohs, dominated by star skipper Inglis being reduced to a shadow of his usual self.

Inglis was in obvious pain from the eighth minute, when his knee jagged awkwardly on the sodden turf.

A concussion to Hunt rubbed the young centre out of the game soon after, and meant Souths were hard pressed getting Inglis off the park while they still had half a chance in the game.

So he stayed out there until the hour mark despite repeatedly signalling to the sideline, unable to muster anything quicker than a jog.

"I was really surprised that Michael Maguire left him on to be honest," former Origin centre Mark Gasnier said on Fox Sports 500 Fulltime Live.

"I thought it was a bit silly because it's round one. You're potentially risking your gun player for the rest of the season ... he pretty much limped over the line."

Inglis's ex-Maroons teammate Justin Hodges agreed, dubbing Maguire's move "a gamble".

Scans over the weekend will reveal just how much the Bunnies lose on it.

With Adam Reynolds already out for a month with appendicitis, they can ill-afford their captain joining him in the stands.

After being thoroughly whipped up and down the Olympic Stadium turf, they've got plenty to deal with as it is.

News Corp Australia

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