Two competition heavyweights; the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Melbourne Storm. The Rabbitohs with all their stars back but the Storm without Ryan Papenhuyzen for the season.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs were the first team to strike and they did it with pace only two minutes into the match.
Keaon Koloamatangi found himself in space and dove over the line in the right corner.
As the first half progressed, the game fell into a battle in the middle of the field as errors from both sides invited each team to attack.
The Rabbitohs resilience turned the Storm away multiple times in the first half and it was rewarded when they were able to attack once again.
A beautiful pass from Latrell Mitchell set up Alex Johnston who dove over in the corner.
Mitchell missed the conversion and their lead stood at 10-0.
As the half ended the game was weirdly poised and the Storm had great field position but no venom in their attack made them bereft of scoreboard pressure.
The Storm were after finally rewarded with a try to Marion Seve who broke through the line off of a scrum and ran 50 meters to score a solo try.
Nick Meaney converted the easiest of conversions to bring the score to 10-6 as the half closed.
The Rabbitohs came out to play in the second half as tries in quick succession for Johnston and Lachlan Ilias extended the Rabbitohs lead, ballooning the score line out to 20-6 in only 8 minutes.
Jaxson Paulo added another try to the Rabbitohs tally with a simple play down the right edge and the Storm defensive line faltered once more.
Mitchell missed the conversion this time and the score stood at 24-6.
The Storm looking to salvage something from the game hit back as a nice play down their left hand side found success.
Dean Ieremia planted the ball down in the left corner and Meaney converted the sideline kick bringing the score to 24-12.
The game somewhat fizzled out towards the end as Kodi Nikorima collected a comical sin bin as the game ended.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou was pleased with the efforts from Ilias post-game.
“I’m really proud of Lachie [Ilias], he’s had a lot on his shoulders this year and through the support of our senior group he has handled that really well and he is what we expected and hoped he would become and he is getting better every week,” Demetriou said.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy lamented his side’s fourth loss in a row, a rarity in Storm circles, and puts it down to minimal effort at crucial times.
“The first half took a lot of energy out of us,” Bellamy said.
“If you’re going to make errors you have to be able to defend them and at the moment we’ll do that 80 per cent of the time but the other 20 per cent we won’t.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Latrell Mitchell (SOU)
2. Keaon Koloamatangi (SOU)
1. Lachlan Ilias (SOU)