Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen has kicked a field goal in Golden Point to escape with a thrilling 15-14 victory over a fast-finishing South Sydney at AAMI Park tonight.
In an extraordinary game of Rugby League, Melbourne dominated large periods of the game leading 14-0 with just over ten minutes remaining. With the Storm in cruise control, South Sydney all of the sudden sprung to life scoring three successive tries to cause a boilover. Unfortunately for the Bunnies, their superstar Latrell Mitchell missed all three conversions.
However, the NSW Blues centre elevated his superstar status by kicking a two-point field goal from outside 40 metres with seconds remaining to send the game into extra time.
The Storm however managed to recover and off the back of a familiar Souths error, Papenhuyzen took the opportunity to give his side a deserved win in front of their home fans for the first time in 2022.
Melbourne traditionally perform in milestone games and in Craig Bellamy's 500th game in charge, the Storm kicked off celebrations in style when hooker Harry Grant delivered a pinpoint kick to an unmarked Xavier Coates to score the first try of the match. Grant then made a special guest appearance as the team's goalkicker and pushed his shot to the right of the upright and it was Melbourne with an early 4-0 lead.
Melbourne continued to punish South Sydney errors, when fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen received the ball wide and put his winger Coates away down the flank. Papenhuyzen then backed up in support to score a great try and extend their lead to 8-0 following another failed conversion by Grant.
The Storm had the home crowd on their feet yet again minutes later, when Harry Grant split the Bunnies defence straight through the middle. The crafty hooker then found a flying Cameron Munster in support who scored under the posts. Papenhuyzen converted to make it 16-0 at the break in a blistering start for the home side.
Melbourne was in control in the second half with the Rabbitohs barely managing to handle the ends of their sets and it wasn't until the 68th minute when finally Cody Walker and Taane Milne combined down the lethal left-hand side for Alex Johnston, on what seemed the 55th attempt to open the account for the Bunnies
Minutes later, Souths started to build some momentum when rookie half Lachlan Ilias and Latrell Mitchell combined to put Jaxson Paulo over for a try in the right-hand corner to give his side a glimmer of hope.
All of a sudden Souths couldn't be stopped and Mitchell was involved again, creating space for centre Campbell Graham to score and give his side a late chance. Mitchell however missed his third conversion and their night seemed over.
However, with seconds remaining the superstar fullback silenced the parochial Melbourne crowd when he rocketed over a field goal from outside 40 metres to stun the Storm and send the game to extra time.
It wasn't to be for the Rabbitohs however, with Ryan Papenhuyzen icing the win and his sides blushes in a huge milestone game for their coach Craig Bellamy.
Melbourne has now won their first two matches of the season and now face the Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park next Saturday afternoon.
South Sydney on the other hand have lost their first two matches and now face their bitter rivals the Roosters in an absolute blockbuster at Accor Stadium next Friday night.