The Rabbitohs showed plenty of grit and some glimpses of attacking brilliance as a thrilling second-half comeback fell just short against the Melbourne Storm. South Sydney stormed home from a 14-nil halftime deficit to go down 15-14 at Aami Park in Melbourne.
Match Highlights: Storm v Rabbitohs
It was the game that all Rabbitohs fans had circled on their calendars. After a seven-month hiatus, Latrell Mitchell was back in the mix donning South Sydney’s number one jersey.
As it Happened
Silivia Havili opened the contest with a spirited 10-metre charge before Campbell Graham took advantage of his height, soaring through the air between a flurry of players on Melbourne’s try line to deny the Storm an early try. Unfortunately for the Rabbitohs, a set restart 10 metres out would give Melbourne the opportunity to claim a 4-nil lead.
Souths piled on the pressure in reply, forcing a dropped ball to regain possession as the Rabbitoh's right edge challenged Melbourne’s defence.
A seesawing affair of penalties and errors followed as the Rabbitohs engine room struggled to match the Storm’s strike power. Two tries in three minutes put the hosts in front by 14.
It was evident Mitchell’s presence was felt across the park as the fullback made no mistake under the high before sweeping down his right side to open up the Rabbitohs edge attack in another glimpse of what could have been for the visitors.
NRL Press Conference: Storm v Rabbitohs - Round 2, 2022
Melbourne’s desperation to celebrate Craig Bellamy’s 500th game as head coach in style was going to plan as the Storm surged to cross not long after half time… before the bunker called offside to keep scores locked at 14-nil.
Souths survived an early second-half barrage from the Storm. After a scoreless 17 minutes, Cameron Murray continued to press his side’s case for a four-pointer. The lock gave Souths fans some hope in the first receiver as he sparked his left edge.
Melbourne dominated the ruck as errors continued to bring South Sydney undone metres from the try line but the Rabbitohs wouldn’t let the Storm have it all their own way. Cody Walker lobbed a quick pass into the hands of Taane Milne who launched the ball into the path of Alex Johnston who claimed his 138th career try.
One too many offside calls saw Justin Olam sin-binned and Mitchell took advantage. From the left side to the right - Mitchell delivered a pinpoint pass across the face of Graham to see Jaxson Paulo cross and bring the deficit to six with six minutes on the clock.
The Rabbitohs refused to give in as they found themselves in the same field position moments later… Campbell Graham barged over seven metres from touch to go within two points.
It all came down to the dying seconds when Rabbitohs fans were brought to their feet as Mitchell made up for his missed conversions by drilling a two-point field goal 48 metres down the paddock and through the posts to set up a golden point blockbuster.
After another Rabbitohs error in the opening minutes of golden point, after an hour since their last points Storm’s Ryan Papenhuyzen kicked the match-winning field goal to lock up Craig Bellamy’s 500th game in style.
Mitchell will again be front and centre when the Rabbitohs take on the Sydney Roosters at Accor stadium next Friday. It’ll be the first time Latrell will come up against Joey Manu since the tackle that sidelined him seven months ago. It’ll also mark Rabbitoh's first game playing in Sydney this season.