South Sydney has gone down fighting against the Melbourne Storm in round five at Accor Stadium, falling 18-10.
Both teams found metres easy to come by in the first few sets of the match, but it was an unfortunate collision between Lachlan Ilias and Campbell Graham that saw the ball fall into Josh King’s lap, seeing him cross for first points in the sixth minute.
That lead was quickly snapped up as Cameron Murray got through the defensive line, giving a sweet offload for Cody Walker to hit back after 11 minutes of play.
Scrambling defence came to the fore after another spilled kick by the Rabbitohs, with a frantic passage of playing going through multiple Melbourne hands, resulting in desperate defence denying Harry Grant over the line.
Back-to-back penalties gifted the Storm great field position, and they took full advantage in the 22nd minute, with William Warbrick busting his way through two tackles to take back the lead for the visitors.
While points were hard to come by through the middle stages, Davvy Moale produced one of the biggest hits of the season on Alec McDonald, with a tackle that could be heard in Melbourne.
They had chances in Melbourne’s half, but dropped balls again proved costly as the visitors held a 12-6 lead at the break.
Souths had the bulk of the territory throughout the first 40, but passes weren’t able to stick deep in the red zone, letting the Storm off the hook on multiple occasions.
The second half couldn’t have started any worse for the Rabbitohs, with two clean line breaks from the Storm busting them right open.
The first opportunity went astray, but the visitors made no mistakes with the second, with a lovely kick from Xavier Coates finding Cameron Munster to push the lead out to 12.
Chances arose after a spilled ball from Nick Meaney soon after, but again that window closed due to a dropped ball while deep in Melbourne territory.
Melbourne had a golden shot of their own to extend the advantage to 18, but a bundled put down was capitalised upon by the home side.
A penalty helped them keep the pressure on, and Latrell Mitchell was able to drag defenders in close to the line, put Graham into enough space to bring the score back to 18-10.
The momentum was all in South Sydney’s favour, but Murray was ruled to have passed off the ground deep on the Storm’s line, temporarily deflating the atmosphere.
With time winding down, two amazing try-saving tries from Nick Meaney on Alex Johnston and Harry Grant on Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson denying the chance of a grandstand finish.
Unfortunately, Johnston was ruled out with a category one HIA, meaning he will miss Good Friday’s clash with the Bulldogs.
- A mix-up between Ilias and Graham saw them collide near the line, gifting Melbourne the first try of the game through Josh King.
- Cameron Murray poked his nose through a gap, offloading to Cody Walker to hit back immediately in the 11th minute.
- Will Warbrick took advantage of some passive defence to score the Storm’s second try in the 22nd minute.
- Davvy Moale came up with the hit of the season after launching out of the line at the Storm attack and whacking Alec McDonald.
- An entertaining but frustrating at times first half saw the Storm lead 12-6 at the break.
- A lacklustre start to the second half in defence was punished with a Cameron Munster try after just three minutes.
- After a blown chance from the Storm, Souths march up the field and Mitchell puts Graham over to keep the game alive heading into the final quarter of play.
- Two late try-savers from Melbourne denied the Rabbitohs in the final 10 minutes.
Play of the Game
With Melbourne up 18-6, Reimis Smith went within inches of grounding the ball and pushing the lead out further.
Souths went right up the field from the ensuing 20m restart, with a double pump from Mitchell drawing the defenders in and giving Graham an easy passage to the try-line, keeping them in the contest with 20 minutes to play.
Attention now turns to Good Friday for the annual clash with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Accor Stadium. With both teams starting the season well and giving their fans something to cheer about, it promises to be a bumper crowd at Homebush.