Melbourne Storm 15-14 South Sydney Rabbitohs: Match report

Melbourne Storm head coach Craig Bellamy celebrated his 500th game in charge of the club with a nervy golden point win over the Rabbitohs.

In their first game back at AAMI Park in 321 days, the Melbourne Storm got the first try of the game coming through their new recruit Xavier Coates. A measured kick from hooker Harry Grant allowed Coates to compete in the air and score his second try in as many games for his new club.

The Storm couldn’t back up their early try with any pressure as several errors allowed the Rabbitohs a number of looks at their tryline. However, in a very similar fashion to their defeat last week to the Broncos, the Rabbitohs attack looked disjointed and barely troubled the Storm.

In contrast to the Bunnies, Melbourne scored another try at their next opportunity. Full back Ryan Papenhuyzen set winger Coates free before a return inside pass allowed the full back to score untouched.

Two tries quickly became three for Melbourne as the outstanding Grant spotted a gap in the Souths defensive line and raced away from dummyhalf before passing inside to Origin teammate Cameron Munster to score and push the score to 14-0 at Half-time.

Melbourne started the second half strong having two tries chalked off by the video referee. The second of those disallowed tries came when they were down to 12 men as Tepai Moeroa was sin binned for a professional foul.

Souths failed to make their man advantage count but did get a try shortly after through their left edge which was so dangerous last season with Alex Johnstone scoring in the corner. This try was the catalyst for the Rabbitohs as they started to gain momentum in the final 10 minutes of the game.

The game was blown wide open when Justin Olam was sin binned for the final five minutes after Melbourne had been penalised several times whilst defending their own try line. Souths this time made the man advantage count scoring twice on that weakened storm right edge through Jaxson Paulo and Campbell Graham.

Latrell Mitchell, playing his first game of the season having missed last week due to suspension, had missed all three of his conversion attempts, but with the score at 14-12 he nailed a massive two-point field goal for Souths to take the game to golden point.

After a poor second half showing from the Storm and with all the momentum with Souths it looked set for the Rabbitohs to spoil Bellamy’s 500th game in charge, but as Melbourne have done so many times under their immortal coach, they found a way to win with Papenhuyzen capitalising on a Souths error to kick the drop goal and seal the win.

Melbourne will be happy with the result but will look to improve on their errors which almost proved costly in the second half as they play a strong Parramatta Eels team next week. As for Souths, they will take confidence from their second half performance as they found some much needed fluidity in attack. They’ll need to keep showing that in their next game as they take on rivals Sydney Roosters in a must win derby.

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