They may have been missing Greg Inglis and John Sutton and whilst the effort was there from the side tonight, it was the Melbourne Storm’s turn to shine, as the defending premiers defeated fellow competition heavyweights the South Sydney Rabbitohs at AAMI Park, taking it out 26-8.
The start was an ominous one for the Storm, reminiscent of last week when they burst out of the blocks, as two early tries out the pressure right back on the Bunnies.
The Bunnies may have another potential injury concern, after Dylan Farrell collided with team-mate Andrew Everingham and had to be taken from the field in a neck brace, a sight no NRL fan ever wants to see.
In a game that the Storm needed to win to continue their momentum towards the finals and a win that Souths needed to arrest their previously inconsistent form, the quick start and subsequent solid play is what got the Storm over the line, despite two dubious calls.
One saw Sam Burgess penalised for tackling Billy Slater in the air despite it appearing that he had landed and the other was some contention over whether or not Sisa Waqa, the Storm winger, had Levitra grounded the ball for his try.
Despite all that, however, Souths coach Michael Maguire said the key is to take positives out of the way his side bounced back after starting poorly.
“We’ll take plenty of positives, I thought the effort from our players was great,” he said.
“It was just unfortunate, a bit of polish at times.
“We built pressure but it was our finishes and a few different things at the back-end of our sets.
“We’ll get a lot out of that game.”
With defence a big factor for the Storm and a reason behind the success, Storm coach Craig Bellamy believes it was what won his side the game.
“I liked the start but I thought we made it really hard on ourselves in the last 15 minutes of the first half when we didn’t complete our sets,” he said.
“You start giving Souths some ball somewhere near your tryline, at some stage they’re going to bust you.
“Our attack wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked but they’re obviously a good defensive side and they’ve led the comp for most of the year.”
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