A determined performance at ANZ Stadium on Friday night saw Melbourne Storm claim an important victory over South Sydney in Round 10.
A fast start laid the foundation for Melbourne’s victory with players contributing right across the park. Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater were two of Melbourne’s best, both extremely influential in attack.
Melbourne made the most of a break early on, punishing George Burgess for a dropped ball in the second minute of play. After earning a repeat set, Cooper Cronk’s clever kick found Billy Slater on the inside to open the scoring.
A bright start from Craig Bellamy’s side heaped enormous pressure on the Rabbitohs defence forcing the home side to absorb several repeat sets.
Weight of possession finally told in the 25th minute when Cooper Cronk found himself over the try-line. Some brilliant play from Will Chambers and Sisa Waqa to keep the ball alive near the sideline allowed the visitors to open up a handy buffer.
Working their way back into the contest, youngster Alex Johnston’s four pointer brought the South Sydney fans to life as Storm charged home to finish the half strongly. The trio of Cronk, Chambers and Waqa proved lethal again as the Fijian added some crucial points just seconds before the half-time siren.
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Re-live Melbourne's 27-14 victory over South Sydney.
IN PICTURES: All the colour and action from Friday night football at ANZ Stadium.
NYC REPORT: Rabbitohs too strong for Thunderbolts.
POST MATCH MEDIA: Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith review their side's win.
South Sydney brought themselves back into the contest just four minutes into the second stanza through playmaker Adam Reynolds who handed the home side the momentum.
Under enormous pressure, Melbourne’s defence held onto their six-point advantage despite five consecutive penalties to the Rabbitohs.
Transferring from defence into attack, a trademark Slater breakaway proved critical with the fullback reinstating Melbourne’s 12-point lead.
Slater’s four pointer would be the last try of the evening with Storm keeping the Rabbitohs attack in check. A copybook Melbourne play finishing in a field goal from Cronk put the result beyond doubt providing Storm with a crucial victory in the context of the season.
Melbourne Storm 27
Tries: Billy Slater 4m, Cooper Cronk 25m, Sisa Waqa 40m, Billy Slater 57m
Goals: Cameron Smith 5
Field goal: Cooper Cronk 1
South Sydney Rabbitohs 14
Tries: Alex Johnston 31m, Adam Reynolds 43m, Alex Johnston 50m
Goals: Adam Reynolds 1