Andrew Pelechaty reviews the epic Friday night game between top four contenders South Sydney and second-placed Melbourne. Here’s how the game went.
|5th||Penalty Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 2-0|
|21st||Try Campbell Graham (South Sydney)||South Sydney 6-0|
|23rd||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 8-0|
|27th||Try Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne)||South Sydney 8-4|
|29th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||South Sydney 8-6|
|38th||Try Cody Walker (South Sydney)||South Sydney 12-6|
|40th||Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 14-6|
|40th||Try Justin Olam (Melbourne)||South Sydney 14-10|
|42nd||Penalty Goal Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)||South Sydney 16-10|
|58th||Try Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Melbourne)||South Sydney 16-14|
|59th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Scores tied 16-16|
|65th||Try Cameron Munster (Melbourne)||Melbourne 20-16|
|67th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 22-16|
After an early penalty goal gave them a 2-0 lead, Souths spent the first 15 minutes peppering Melbourne’s line, as the Storm gave away penalties and set restarts, but the Rabbitohs couldn’t capitalise.
After absorbing so much pressure, Melbourne had a chance to score off Brenko Lee after 20 minutes, but he knocked the ball on, though Alex Johnston appeared to get a hand on it too.
Souths put Melbourne under pressure immediately, with Campbell Graham grounding the ball after chasing a kick from Cody Walker, with Melbourne’s Isaac Lumelume rolling the dice on the ball going dead, rather than forcing a goal-line dropout. Reynolds converted for an 8-0 lead, but then went off for a HIA.
Melbourne finally struck back as Josh Addo-Carr broke down the left (receiving a great catch-and-pass from Kenneath Bromwich) and passed inside to Ryan Papenhuyzen. Cameron Smith converted to reduce Souths’ lead to 8-6.
Melbourne nearly got through again, but Justin Olam fumbled Addo-Carr’s pass.
Reynolds, returning after passing his HIA, worked his magic on the last tackle, passing to Cody Walker to extend Souths’ lead to 14-6.
Melbourne struck back right on halftime, going down the left again, with Olam scoring. Smith just missed the conversion, giving Souths a 14-10 halftime lead.
Souths increased their lead to six early in the second half with another Reynolds penalty goal.
The game then turned into an arm-wrestle, with a lot of penalties (five each after 55 minutes), but neither side able to capitalise.
Melbourne finally broke through with Tino Fa’asuamaleaui barging over next to the posts from a Smith short ball. Smith’s simple conversion tied the scores at 16-16 with 21 minutes left.
Some inspirational Souths defence put Papenhuyzen into touch soon after, ending a promising attacking raid.
Melbourne took the lead 22-16 with 15 minutes left, running the footy on the last tackle for Cameron Munster to score.
Souths put some pressure on Melbourne in the final 10 minutes, with Johnston – heading towards the left corner post – throwing a speculative pass as Jahrome Hughes came after him, but Melbourne survived.
Souths continued to attack, but handling errors let them down. The Rabbitohs Captain’s Challenged a knock on with two-and-a-half minutes left, but it was unsuccessful.
Melbourne’s tenacious win keeps them three points behind first-placed Penrith, while Souths fell to seventh (after Newcastle’s big win over Cronulla-Sutherland earlier tonight), missing a chance to leapfrog Canberra into fifth.
With Souths leading 16-10 just after halftime, the second half was an arm wrestle until two Melbourne tries inside 10 minutes gave the Storm a match-winning lead.
The first was from Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in the 58th minute, barging over from a Cameron Smith pass, which tied the game at 16-16. The Storm were a little lucky, as Smith’s pass was line ball.
Melbourne hit the lead seven minutes later when Cameron Munster scored after the Storm chanced their arm on the last tackle from close range: Smith scooting from dummy half and passing to Ryan Papenhuyzen, who passed inside to Munster.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Corey Allan 3. Campbell Graham 19. Steven Marsters 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Liam Knight 16. Patrick Mago 17. Keaon Koloamatangi.
Melbourne Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Isaac Lumelume 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 21. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. Interchange: 12. Chris Lewis 14. Nicholas Hynes 16. Albert Vete 17. Darryn Schonig.