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Storm coach Craig Bellamy has praised his unsung heroes for the way they have gone from no football to contributing to winning performances.

Chris Lewis and Darryn Schonig played important roles in Melbourne's 22-16 win over the Rabbitohs on Friday night in the absence of regular contributors Brandon Smith and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

As is the case with players across the competition, COVID-19 restrictions have left those not usually in the final 17 for their club without regular football.

"We're down a few troops in our forwards at the moment but some of the young guys that have come into the team are doing a really good job for us," he added.

"The guys we're bringing into the team haven't played any footy at all so to be coming in and doing the job they're doing [is impressive].

"With Darryn [Schonig] tonight and I thought Chris Lewis did a great job for us off the bench, I'm really impressed with those blokes and the job they're doing for the team at the moment."

Bellamy said the manner in which his side was able to claw their way back into the game after being placed under huge pressure in the opening 10 minutes was admirable.

"We didn't get off to a great start and they were all over us early so to steady that game I thought was a good effort," he said.

"The second half I was really happy with the way we started. We got right back into the game, we weren't too over-enthusiastic to try and win the game then, we were quite patient."

Papenhuyzen and Addo-Carr are at it again

Bellamy was again asked about the future of star hooker Cameron Smith, and again said the all-time games played leader would be left to make his own decision.

He said the club had salary cap plans in place for 2021 that both included, and excluded Smith from the Storm's playing list.

Bellamy spoke after a superb 80 minutes from Ryan Papenhuyzen helped set up the win.

Papenhuyzen scored one try and set up two more in the four-tries-to-two victory, running for nearly 200 metres and busting eight tackles.

Melbourne hit the lead for the first time in the 67th minute against a South Sydney team that entered the match come off big wins over Manly and Parramatta.

The brutal clash featured five separate HIA checks, with Rabbitoh Kaeon Koloamatangi failing to return after a knock early in the second half, while Melbourne prop Christian Welch was placed on report for a crusher tackle.

Papenhuyzen turns provider for Olam

While Souths were impressive in keeping pace with the Storm, too many unforced errors with the game on the line proved costly with their second half offering little threat to Melbourne.

Souths badly missed the spark of Latrell Mitchell at the back, with Corey Allan solid but unspectacular in the role after originally being named on the wing.

After a period of pressure Souths scored theĀ first try after a pinpoint Cody Walker grubber, which Isaac Lumelume tried to shepherd over the dead-ball line. However, the Steeden had other ideas and sat nicely for a desperate Campbell Graham to ground it with little room to spare.

Josh Addo-Carr conjured Melbourne's first points from nothing, burning the Bunnies' right side defence with raw speed to set up Papenhuyzen in the 28th minute.

Munster try gets the Storm into the lead

Adam Reynolds was sent for an HIA after an off the ball collision with Felise Kaufusi but it took the Bunnies No.7 just a few seconds upon his return to put Walker into half a gap and the five-eighth did the rest to put his side ahead.

With an eight-point half-time advantage on offer, Souths instead threw a series of high-risk passes that culminated in a Liam Knight error and with just a few plays remaining before the break, Papenhuyzen split the Souths right side to put Justin Olam over and reduce the deficit to four.

The Storm earned four consecutive sets at the South Sydney line midway through the half and eventually cracked the Bunnies when a monstrous Tino Faasuamaleaui run onto a perfect Smith short ball propelled the Titans-bound prop over next to the posts to level the scores.

Some beautiful work from Papenhuyzen put Cameron Munster over in the 67th minute to earn the Storm the lead for the first time in the match.

Despite a few chances for each side, there were no further points as the Storm consolidated second spot on the ladder and left Souths in seventh place.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.