NRL Round 23 – Match 6 Results: Melbourne Storm 18 v 16 South Sydney Rabbitohs

On Sunday one of the closest and thrilling showdowns of the round played out at AAMI Park when the Storm narrowly hung on to win by two points over the Rabbitohs.

South Sydney must really dig deep over the remaining three weeks of the season if they are to make the finals after the loss pushed them down to ninth spot, the suffocatingly close race seeing them tied on 24 comp points with both the Eels and the Raiders.

The Bunnies were first to score just six minutes into Sunday’s showdown when Luke Capewell got a four-pointer. But Chris Sandow missed the kick, and this would prove to be the two points that they needed to win.

Storm fullback Billy Slater answered back quickly with Melbourne’s first try in the 12th minute, Cameron Smith successfully converting to push the home side in front by two points.

Melbourne were able to gain a further advantage with stand-in hooker Ryan Hinchcliffe scoring a double with tries either side of the break.

Hinchcliffe got his first in the 26th minute after charging over from dummy half and the Storm took a 12 – 4 lead to the sheds, then he completed his double just two minutes into the second half giving them a total haul of 18 points after Smith’s third successful kick.

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A desperate Rabbitohs were gallant in defeat, putting in a barnstorming finish with winger Nathan Merritt scoring twice in the final quarter and Sandow kicking two from two, but after his earlier miss it wasn’t enough and they went down by two.

Merritt’s second try, given the benefit of the doubt by video refs, was also his 100th career four-pointer.

It was a disappointing finish for Souths after their magical victory over the Tigers last week, and they will need all the luck they can conjure to find a spot in the top eight.

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