South Sydney went down to the Melbourne Storm in the penultimate match of day one of the Auckland Nines today (Saturday), by 18-12.
The Rabbitohs put themselves in great early position with a deep regathered kick from Dylan Walker and the movement paid dividends immediately, with John Sutton showing great vision again with hi kicking game.
In an identical move to game one, Sutton put in a well-weighted kick into the in-goal for a flying Nathan Merritt, who grabbed the first try of the match.
The Storm squared the ledger with a try to Will Chambers though, who took a ball from Justin O’Neill after a high kick to make it four apiece. The try came at an even bigger cost for the Rabbitohs though, with Dylan Walker copping the boots of O’Neill in the face – Walker overcoming the injury to play on.
A mistake from the Rabbitohs from the kick-off allowed the Storm to take the lead with a five-point try to Chambers with a conversion.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Joel Reddy finished off a well-constructed backline movement to cross the stripe to narrow the score to 11-8 to round off the half.
After the break, the Storm were handed an opportunity after a mistake gifted them a bonus-zone try to Mahe Fonua to all but wrap-up the result.
On the back of a number of penalties piggy-backing the side up the field, the Rabbitohs clawed back with a try to Beau Champion to make it 18-12. But the weight of mistakes and enthusiastic play from the Storm was too much for the men in red and green to overcome – the match finishing at 18-12.
Storm 18 (Will Chambers 2, Mahe Fonua tries)
Rabbitohs 12 (Nathan Merritt, Joel Reddy, Beau Champion tries)