SOUTHS not only kick started their premiership defence in style at St John Oval on Sunday, but the Lions also maintained their recent dominance over Central.
The title holders from Townson Oval beat the Butcher Boys 38-6 in their Newcastle Rugby League season opener, making it eight wins on the trot against the same opponents.
That's seven round games, extending back to 2016, and last year's qualifying semi-final all in favour of Souths.
The last time Central were victorious over the Merewether-based club was round 11 in 2015.
* KURRI KURRI have been redecorating in the dressing sheds at home, adorning the walls in some colourful club history.
Now hanging above the heads of current players are photos and names of the Bulldogs' team of the century, featuring the likes of Eddie Lumsden, Mark Hughes, Garry Sullivan and now Central coach Phil Williams.
* DAN Metcalf will be available for Cessnock's next game after escaping suspension for a careless high tackle.
The Goannas host Lakes on April 27 after the Easter break with the forward free to play having avoided the judiciary by submitting an early guilty plea this week.
He has 75 carry over points from the incident, which occurred in the 56th minute of Saturday's 22-18 loss to Maitland.
* LAKES are awaiting scan results to determine the extent of Manny Sithole's pectoral injury.
* CESSNOCK had a minute's silence before Saturday's kick-off paying tribute to late members Phil Peek, Bill Johnson and Peter Wilkinson.