The Sydney Roosters have jumped to the top of the NRL ladder with a gutsy 18-14 win over arch-rivals South Sydney.
The Roosters proved their premiership credentials on Friday night with a win built on staunch defence as Souths dominated field position but couldn't deliver a killer blow.
Both sides suffered casualties, with Souths fullback Alex Johnson leaving the field after two-and-a-half minutes with a hamstring injury, while his Roosters opposite James Tedesco missed the last 12 minutes due to a head injury after copping friendly fire from Latrell Mitchell at ANZ Stadium.
Sam Burgess had a shocker, making five errors from 20 carries, including dropping it with his side on the attack with less than three minutes to go.
In the end, the Roosters' defence proved decisive with the Rabbitohs enjoying 31 tackles in the opposition 20m zone (compared with the Tri-Colours' 10) but still came away with two valuable points.
The result sees Trent Robinson's side jump ahead of Souths, but Melbourne have a chance to regain the competition lead when they take on Cronulla on Sunday.
When the Roosters went the length of the field in three plays for Joseph Manu to touch down in the right-hand corner, they had a six-point advantage 13 minutes after halftime.
A Mitchell penalty put Roosters in front by eight, and ultimately Souths couldn't run them down.
The Rabbits set up a grandstand finish when Braidon Burns flicked it behind his back for Hymel Hunt to cross and peel their deficit back to four with 15 on the clock.
However, the Roosters held firm to prove they're the real deal.
Souths halfback Adam Reynolds appeared to carry a leg injury and made five errors in what was a forgettable performance.