After suffering a 54-20 clobbering from Wests Tigers last Saturday, the Rabbitohs took the opportunity to redeem themselves against a weakened Penrith outfit.
The lead was extended to 8-0 following a Chris Sandow penalty goal in the 28th minute.
Souths stamped their authority on the match just before the break. Following a number of Panther raids, outside back Jamie Simpson pulled off a 90-metre intercept to score under the posts. Man-of-the-match Sutton crossed soonafter for the home side to post a 20-0 half time lead.
A runaway try to Souths fullback Nathan Merritt just after the break saw the tally escalate to 26-0, and a cricket score was on the cards.
But the Panthers were able to strike back. A number of handling errors from Souths invited their opposites back into the contest. Following a no try in the 49th minute, Penrith were finally able to capitalise through hooker Paul Aiton in the 52nd minute.
In the 59th minute Panthers centre Geoff Daniela got the nod from the video ref to make it 26-12. With 20 minutes remaining, Penrith were looking to mount an unlikely comeback.
But the Rabbitohs recovered the cue for long enough to run in two more tries, and take the game away from the visitors.
Sutton capped off a tremendous match to score his second try in the 70th minute before Colin Best scored out wide just before full time.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 def Penrith Panthers12
Round 18 - Friday July 10th, 2009 07:35pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Homebush
Referee: Ben Cummins & Tony De Las Heras
Sideline Officials: Paul Holland & Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Phil Cooley Crowd: 9,017 Halftime: Rabbitohs 20-0
South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 Tries: Eddy Pettybourne, Jamie Simpson, John Sutton (2), Nathan Merritt, Colin Best Goals: Chris Sandow (6/7) Penrith Panthers 12 Tries: Paul Aiton, Geoff Daniela Goals: Luke Walsh (2/2)
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RABBITOHS: 1. Nathan Merritt 2. Jamie Simpson 3. Colin Best 4. Beau Champion 5. Fetuli Talanoa 6. John Sutton 7. Chris Sandow 8. Luke Stuart 9. Issac Luke 10. Roy Asotasi (c) 11. Ben Lowe 12. Eddy Pettybourne 13. David Fa