Melbourne have done just enough for the second week in a row, to defeat South Sydney 16-6 in front of 11,528 fans at ANZ Stadium.
Languishing in 12th position, it was becoming desperation stakes for the Rabbitohs, after buying Inglis in the off season, were tipped for huge things in 2011. This mirrored their opening to the contest, as they dominated possession, scoring through maligned back-rower Dave Taylor, who left above the pack to touchdown.
Class sides respond immediately, Melbourne did that. After a pinpoint kick from Cooper Cronk, which bounced up for O'Neill who got it to Blair to score his first try of the season. It reduced the deficit to two points after Cameron Smith unusually hooking his conversion shot to the left.
South Sydney would make inroads into the Melbourne half but were lacking the touch of class, a Jamie Soward or Johnathan Thurston would have, as the kicks would land on the chest of Slater or Waqa.
Melbourne weren't as scattered with their radar, they were getting repeat sets but it was an errant pass from Souths, which gave them their second try. Jesse Bromwich diving over after a feeble tackle attempt from Eddy Pettybourne, Smith had no trouble with this one and it was 10-6.
It wasn't like Souths weren't trying, James Roberts and Nathan Merritt were both denied tries in the first half when they were corrected judged to have touched the sideline and lost possession, leaving Souths to rue their missed opportunities at halftime.
In the second, it was much like the first, Rabbitohs dominating the go-forward and field possession but not grabbing it by the throat. They can feel aggrieved with a non call to go the video referee after Dave Taylor was judged to have dropped the ball. Replays afterwards showed Taylor might have had a case had they checked the try.
Sadly, Souths weren't able to build on their domination and Melbourne patiently waited for a mistake and when they got the chance, it was their captain Cameron Smith who celebrated his 200th game last week who pounced and scored. Gareth Widdop stepped up to take the kick and slotted it for a 16-6 away win for Melbourne.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 were defeated by Melbourne Storm 16
National Rugby League - Round 13 - Sunday June 5, 2011 3:00pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Ben Cummins and Chris James
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Gavin Morris
Halftime: South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 Melbourne Storm 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to a sunny Sunday at ANZ Stadium. This afternoon, we have an intriguing contest between 3rd place Melbourne Storm and 12th place South Sydney Rabbitohs who are desperate for a win, after a run of outs against New Zealand and Penrith.
There are a litany of changes for Melbourne. Matt Duffie, Todd Lowrie are out. Ryan Hinchcliffe and Jaimain Lowe start, with Jesse Bromwich and Rory Kostjasyn onto the bench. Only one change for South Sydney, Dion Apps comes in for Jason Clark.
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1 min: Both sides have entered the playing area. Chris Sandow kicks us off.
2 min: Completions by both sides to start the game, Souths may be down to 16 early, with McPherson injured.
4 min: Isaac Luke spies an opening down the left, gets to Taylor who flicks it to Inglis who drops it trying to offload.
5 min: Smith just rolls one into the in-goal, forcing Merritt to ground it.
6 min: A reprieve for Souths with a forward pass called.
7 min: That'll help. Souths are piggybacked from their own area due to Melbourne laying on the player too long..
9 min: TRY
On last, Sandow puts one across field looking for a winger but Dave Taylor is there to leap high and plants the ball down. Sandow converts.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-0
10 min: Silly from the kick-off, McPherson is collected high and gets the approving whistle.
12 min: Micheal Crocker must of been doing some acting classes, earnt his team fortuitous penalty. The set comes to naught when it's taken safely by Slater.
14 min: TRY
Cooper Cronk puts a dinking kick over Wessers head while the bounce room service for Kostalyn who offloads to Cronk who gets to Blair who scored. Smith from out wide misses.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 6-4
18 min: Great leap by Wesser who doesnt leave this kick to chance plus earns a penalty for being tackled in the air.
19 min: Dave Taylor is having a good start to this game, chasing an early luck by Surton which earns his side a dropout.
Checking if James Roberts has scored after an offload from Inglis.
20 min: NO TRY! Inglis got outside his man, drawing the winger, offloaded to Roberts who was in the clear but he stepped on the white line.
23 min: After an energetic start, Souths have undone their good work, with a forward pass in their own half.
26 min: TRY
The difference between the sides ATM is pressure. Melbourne got a six again call and got Bromwich one on one with Pettybourne and he brushed him to score. Smith converts this time.
Melbourne Storm 10-6
28 min: Trying to get to his feet too quickly, Norrie loses it.
31 min: Souths penalty but it's not all roses, Crocker has gone off and straight up the tunnel following a knee injury.
33 min: Here's some pressure for Souths, forcing a line dropout.
Nathan Merritt might of scored in the corner or has he lost it?
34 min: NO TRY! Merritt has lost the ball.
37 min: Souths are trying too hard, with another loose pass.
38 min: A lucky break for Melbourne, with the referee judging that a bat back by Slater was touched by Wesser. Dropout.
40 min: Wesser smothers a ball and takes us to halftime.
Here we go for the second half! Souths are in this, they just need composure under pressure.
41 min: Both sides are out, Smith kicks off for the second stanza.
43 min: Dave Taylor continues his late push for an origin jersey, with a rampaging run. It's not helped by a Kane end to the set by Sandow.
44 min: Nathan Merritt with a scoot from dummy half, gets a penalty. That's 6-0 in penalties to Souths but they can't capitialise.
47 min: Some beautiful football by both sides here, Waqa was put into a gap, offloads to Slater who is in the clear with only Wesser to beat and Wesser ropes him in and gets the scrum for Souths.
49 min: Chris Sandow launches himself at the attack and jolts the ball free, sadly was using his hand.
50 min: Justin O'Neill did everything right, got to the kick but knocked it on just before the line.
52 min: Great kick here, Sandow sensed his side was in trouble and booted it deep for a 40/20.
54 min: Depressing finish after a good set, trying the power play to Taylor failed.
59 min: The game is developing into a grind, next points will be premium here.
61 min: They set it up for Roberts to knock them down but he drops it cold.
63 min: Here comes the coal train! Dave Taylor is rampaging his way to the line but he's lost it? Video replays suggests he may of got it down.
67 min: the momentum was building for Souths, they got the crowd into it and Sutton spills it.
69 min: Gareth Widdop boots it deep but he's polaxed as he kicked, penalty Melbourne.
73 min: Well, Souths regular halves haven't been effective, so Dave Tyrrell stabs one which produces a dropout.
Nathan Peats could have the try to level it up! Checking for a knock on.
75 min: NO TRY! It's not four times lucky for Souths, it's ruled Crocker has knocked it into a Melbourne player.
80 min: TRY
That's game over. Cameron Smith spots that there is only one marker, throws the dummy and scores. Widdop steps up for the conversion and converts.
Melbourne Storm 16-6
80 min: They ruck it out and that's full-time.