A stunning six-try haul to Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr sealed a 10th straight win for Craig Bellamy over Wayne Bennett as the Storm ran out 50-0 winners over an injury-ravaged Souths side on Thursday night.
Addo-Carr became the first player in 71 years, since Newtown's Jack Troy in 1950, to score six tries in a premiership match and the first-ever Storm player to score five or more in a match.
His hat-trick in the space of 15 minutes midway through the first half and a fourth a minute from half-time all but ended the contest at 26-0 in the opening 40 minutes, with the Blues flyer adding two more late in the piece to create a slice of history.
Missing halfback Adam Reynolds, fullback Latrell Mitchell, wingers Josh Mansour and Jaxson Paulo, centre Campbell Graham and lock Cam Murray, the Rabbitohs were forced into a major reshuffle, particularly out wide with their patched-up edge defence exposed in ruthless fashion by a clinical Storm outfit.
Match: Rabbitohs v Storm
Round 9 -
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney
The 50-plus scoreline puts the Rabbitohs on the wrong side of history, with no team ever having conceded 50 or more points in a premiership match and gone on to win the grand final that year.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy praised not just the record-breaking efforts of Addo-Carr but the impressive work done by the rest of the team to create a platform for him to use his pace to such devastating effect.
"I'm really happy for him," Bellamy said.
Addo-Carr 'blossomed' into more than just a speed guy says Bellamy
"I'm pretty sure that's a club record; it's great for him and the whole team.
"There's a lot of work done before Josh can use his pace to get into the corner so it was pretty good to see him do that."
The performance was "easily" Melbourne's best of the season, Bellamy added.
"The thing I was real happy about, we sort of put it on them after half-time, I don't really think we've put a good consistent 80 minutes together this year," he said.
"We've been probably had a couple of good halves whether its first half or second half we've had a couple of games we've been pretty good for 60 minutes but not 80.
"I thought tonight we did that. I know Souths were down in strength a bit but for my players the team can only play what's put out there and I thought they were tremendous tonight."
The first three tries of the contest, all to Addo-Carr, came through South Sydney's right edge where Reynolds and Graham usually defend, with Bennett benching Steven Marsters for back-rower Jed Cartwright in an attempt to stem the flow of tries.
Fantastic Mr Foxx's six-try haul
With Harry Grant again shifting to the bench on game day, the likely Maroons hooker formed a devastating combination with Kiwi rake Brandon Smith with the duo's dynamic one-two punch late in the first half causing enormous headaches for the Rabbitohs' middle defence.
Addo-Carr opened the scoring in the 12th minute off a deft left-footed Justin Olam grubber then backed up a clean break from Nicho Hynes for his second.
Grant breaks away through the middle and Addo-Carr has a hat-trick
Some lovely work from Cameron Munster and Grant opened up the Souths right side for Addo-Carr's third before Munster produced a one-on-one steal on Cook then spread it to Jahrome Hughes with the halfback slicing through the Bunnies' middle to make it 20-0 after 31 minutes, then Addo-Carr got his fourth through a regulation overlap just before the break.
Munster came up with an intercept on his own line to defuse a rare Souths attacking set early in the second half with Grant helping them surge downfield for Smith to burst over with a beautiful scoot from dummy-half.
Shifting their focus to the Souths left edge, the Storm created two tries for George Jennings in the 49th and 57th minutes.
Addo-Carr joins a select club with six tries in a match
Several repeat sets on the Souths line set up Addo-Carr's fifth through another overlap in the 66th minute before some broken play set up the winger's sixth in the 71st.
The only worry for the Storm was Brandon Smith being placed on report for a late hit on Damien Cook, while Cook (knee) and Cody Walker (ankle) were each twisted awkwardly in first half tackles but were able to finish the match.