South Sydney overcame their underdog status on Saturday night when they held on by two points to defeat the Melbourne Storm 16 – 14 at ME Stadium in Perth.
The Rabbitohs are slowly climbing up the ladder, now in fifth spot after breaking their previous two match losing streak. Meanwhile, Melbourne have many asking how much longer they can go on winning after seeing success just once in their past four games when they thrashed the Cowboys 58 – 12 in Round 15.
But even the confidence of such a big win wasn’t enough to push the Storm over the edge on Saturday as the Bunnies showed their determination and skill in front of owner Russell Crowe who was amongst the crowd.
A second half penalty proved the match winner for the Rabbitohs, as both sides scored three tries a piece, including a double each to South Sydney’s winger Fetuli Talanoa and the Storm’s Justin O’Neill.
Souths were first to open their account when Talanoa got over in the 15th minute, but without the conversion they lead by just four points.
Five minutes later the Storm matched their rivals when Justin O’Neill scored his first try of an eventual match double, taking advantage of some poor Rabbitohs defence. But as they missed the kick too, the scores were tied four all.
This was to set the mood for the entire match, as the two scored try for try in an intense showdown.
Without out any other first half points, Souths and Storm went to the break head-to-head on four points.
Back in the second half Melbourne charged to the lead as the talented Greg Inglis scored their second try just three minutes in. This time Cameron Smith booted it through the posts and the Storm were in front 10 – 4.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Rabbitohs’ Chris Sandow tied the scores again with a try converted by the lively Issac Luke. This came minutes after Justin O’Neill botched a certain try opportunity for the Storm, when he dropped a great Brett Finch cross-field kick over the goal-line, giving the Rabbitohs the opportunity they needed to score.
A demanding game that was sure to be decided by a narrow margin, when South Sydney were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute Issac Luke kicked and gave them what turned out to be the match winning two points.
Souths were first to score again when Talanoa completed his double in the 61st minute, the Bunnies now having scored their total 16 points.
Desperate to fight back and come out on top, Melbourne’s O’Neill scored again in the 70th minute, but they missed the kick and still trailed by two. Then, failing to score again despite a dangerous run from fullback Billy Slater with three minutes to go, the Storm went down 14 – 16.
It was a significant victory for the Rabbitohs, their first against Melbourne in the past nine games played between the two.
In Round 17 both the Rabbitohs and the Storm have a bye, Melbourne especially thankful considering State of Origin III plays out Wednesday week and will disrupt the representative-riddled clubs. There are still five other showdowns this weekend to get your Rugby League Betting action at, so head to Ladbrokes.com.au for the latest odds!