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Tedesco fires Tigers to Souths NRL rout

NZN 3/03/2017 Steve Zemek

A James Tedesco virtuoso performance has ruined Robbie Farah's fresh start at South Sydney, the Wests Tigers' No.1 firing his side to a 34-18 thumping.

Not only were the Rabbitohs embarrassed on Friday night in their NRL season opener, they had salt rubbed into the wounds when Greg Inglis left the game with a troubling knee injury in the second half.

In a worrying sign for the Queensland and Australian champion, he left the field midway through the second half after struggling for most of the game.

After copping a nasty blow to his left knee in the 7th minute, he was barely able to run but refused to leave the field after centre Hymel Hunt went down with a head knock and failed to return.

Inglis was largely a passenger and pushed out to the wing. He did manage to pick up a clever Cody Walker grubber to score on the stroke of halftime but the game otherwise belonged to his opposite No.1.

Tedesco scored one, set up another and played an important role in a further two as the Tigers ran riot in the six-tries-to-four rout.

He turned the game on its head when he created something out of nothing - stepping off his left foot and then his right to leave Alex Johnston, Kyle Turner and Sam Burgess clutching at air to score and make it 12-4 in the 19th minute.

When he sent Chris Lawrence over six minutes later with a crisp, flat pass, the Tigers were making metres at will and the Rabbitohs looked rudderless.

Inglis' try just before the break gave Souths a sniff of a chance but Tedesco again turned provider after the break, putting David Nofoaluma through a hole as they ran 90m to score through Mitchell Moses.

The Tigers' post-Farah era was off to a flying start with Tedesco, Nofoaluma, Aaron Woods and Moses all outstanding as they played with flair and confidence.

Winger Moses Suli also scored a double on debut but was found out in defence during Inglis' try.

Tigers centre Jamal Idris had an indifferent return to the NRL, dropping the ball with his first touch.

Farah, in his first outing in new colours after his controversial exit from the Tigers, largely had an uneventful night as his side were overawed.

The Rabbitohs have big problems with Inglis under an injury cloud and halfback Adam Reynolds expected to miss the next three weeks with appendicitis.

Inglis will go for scans on Saturday but said he didn't believe the injury was serious.

Souths coach Michael Maguire defended his decision to leave his strike weapon on the field for over 50 minutes playing on one leg.

"I've got some very good staff and they were obviously in conversation with Greg right throughout the game," Maguire said.

"Greg felt it was actually getting better and 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."

Tigers coach Jason Taylor paid tribute to Tedesco, saying his running game would play a big part in their game plan this year.

"I didn't think he was going to score that try, it was just his brilliance," Taylor said.

"Those guys taking the line on was important tonight. Guys like Mitchell Moses, Luke Brooks and James Tedesco just being prepared to get tackled, I thought that was a key factor for us tonight and sometimes they didn't get tackled and created something for us."

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