Melbourne has secured their first win at AAMI Park for 2020, after they defeated South Sydney 22-8 to maintain their perfect record over the Bunnies south of the border.
Cameron Munster was the star, with the Maroons five-eighth taking the game by the scruff on the neck on two occasions, crucially swinging momentum for the home side to lead his side to a much needed win after a disappointing loss to the Raiders last week.
While the score flattered the Storm somewhat, the Rabbitohs will rue their missed opportunities to leave Wayne Bennett's side with just one win from their opening four matches.
With both sides coming into the match off respective losses in Round 3, this match ensured that both master coaches in Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bennett would have their players on high alert in order to get their season back on the straight and narrow.
Predictably it was the home side that struck first, when halfback Jahrome Hughes combined with replacement centre Brenko Lee to put Suliasi Vunivalu away down the right-hand side. The Fijian international then found a flying Ryan Papenhuyzen in support and the Storm fullback streaked away to open the scoring for Melbourne. Cameron Smith missed the conversion, and it was 4-0 to the home side after just 8 minutes.
Souths then struck back when big money signing Latrell Mitchell showed his class, throwing a sublime cut out pass off a set play close to the line to give Alex Johnston some space to set sail for the corner to score a sensational try. Adam Reynolds converted from the sideline and the Bunnies fought back to hold a 6-4 lead.
Nearing halftime, Munster grabbed the momentum for his side when he sliced through the middle with minutes remaining in the first half. The Queensland number six then linked with halves partner Hughes who kicked for the corner for Suliasi Vunivalu. The rugby bound winger then collected a lucky bounce to score and regain the lead for his side. Following another uncharacteristic missed conversion by Smith, Melbourne led 8-6 at halftime.
The arm wrestle continued in the second stanza, and when Storm prop Christian Welch was penalised for a strip. Reynolds had no hesitation to take the two points on offer and tied up the score at 8 all.
Melbourne then regained the lead, when Souths prop Junior Tatola was penalised for tackling Papenhuyzen on suspicion close to the line and Smith regained the lead, kicking a penalty from 33 metres out to make it 10-8 with 20 minutes remaining. Munster then again showed his class, when under pressure he showed excellent composure to kick over the top of the rushing Souths defence to hit Josh Addo-Carr on the chest for a superb try. Cameron Smith converted and the Storm lead 16-8.
Melbourne then iced the game late, when the familiar pairing of Munster and Smith combined to send centre Justin Olam over to secure a 22-8 win.
Melbourne now face Newcastle at Central Coast Stadium in Round 5 in another tough hit out on Saturday afternoon, while South Sydney now face the Titans on the same day in what will prove to be a must win game at Bankwest Stadium.