80:00
Sun 21 May 2017
nib Stadium - Crowd: 11433

Storm grind out win in the West

Melbourne have maintained their place at the summit of the NRL competition ladder with a tough 14-6 victory over South Sydney in front of 11,433 fans at NIB Stadium.

It was the classic Melbourne contest which was transported to the west. They got themselves ahead in the first half thanks to tries from Will Chambers and Josh Addo-Carr then a rampaging effort from Suliasi Vunivalu to repel a blunt Rabbitohs attacking force. 

For the Rabbitohs, this game served as a reminder that they are lacking a game-breaker with the absence of Greg Inglis due to health issues. They were camped in the Storm half for huge chunks of the contest but an errant pass or kick, or broken down play would allow last year's runnners-up to tackle their way to victory, led by captain Cameron Smith who topped a half century himself. 

Will Chambers got the Storm off the perfect start at NIB Stadium, when Billy Slater, continuing his strong return from injury linked with the backline for his possible Queensland team-mate to dive over. Left winger Addo-Carr added an inch perfect snaffle of a grubber to make it 12-6 Storm at the break despite a trucking effort from John Sutton

Most of the second half was kept down the left side of the field, as the rain that tumbled during half-time made handling much harder. Rabbitohs had their chances but never truly tested the Storm line despite their advantage.

Melbourne confirmed their position at the top of the NRL ladder in the 73rd minute when a looping backline movement gave space for Vunivalu to sprint to the line, taking out both Alex Johnston and Bryson Goodwin in the process.

Next week the Storm will have a week off ahead of the first Origin match, while the Rabbitohs are at home back in Sydney hosting the Eels on Friday night.

3. Cameron Smith

Huge performance from the skipper. 50+ tackles, a 40/20 and big minutes in the middle.

2. Billy Slater

Welcome return to form for the former Queensland fullback as he created the first try and was safe at the back all night.

1. Angus Crichton

The young backrower was impressive in his 80 minute performance and ran good lines all night.