Melbourne Storm have held on for a 16-12 victory after an action packed 80 minutes in front of 18,067 at AAMI Park.
A sturdy defensive showing allowed Craig Bellamy’s side to hold onto their half-time lead as South Sydney charged back into the contest, scoring the only two tries of the second half.
South Sydney did not waste any time settling into the match, immediately piling the pressure on Melbourne’s defence. The Rabbitohs converted their early territorial dominance into a lead, taking two points off the boot of Bryson Goodwin.
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Enduring some pressure from the visitors, Melbourne levelled the scores and then took a slender lead kicking for points after two penalties in attack.
As the momentum of the first half shifted, a Melbourne attacking raid allowed Storm to further extend their lead. With the Rabbitohs back pedalling, skipper Cameron Smith found some space to play Jesse Bromwich through a hole.
Storm’s defence was again tested towards the back end of the half however the home side held strong, absorbing the pressure to go up the other end of the ground and further extend their lead heading into half-time.
Trailing 16-2 at the main break, back-to-back South Sydney tries turned the contest on it’s head as the Rabbitohs drew to within four points courtesy of a 10 minute blitz.
A seesawing final 20 minutes of the contest had the crowd on the edge of their seats as both sides traded sets and errors without managing a break through.
Eventually Storm held strong after a grandstand finish, surviving a late scare following some acrobatics from Rabbitoh Dylan Walker.
Melbourne Storm 16
Tries: Jesse Bromwich 20m, Will Chambers 38m
Goals: Cameron Smith 4
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12
Tries: Alex Johnston 48m, Aaron Gray 55m
Goals: Isaac Luke 1, Bryson Goodwin 1