Melbourne have hung tough for an ugly 22-8 NRL win over South Sydney on Friday night to continue the Rabbitohs’ horror winless record south of the border.
Melbourne’s star five-eighth Cameron Munster proved the difference in the AAMI Park clash, setting up two tries including one from a genius kick into the in-goal that was collected by flying winger Josh-Addo Carr.
Skipper Cameron Smith booted that difficult conversion in the 67th minute for an eight-point margin to lock in the win before a late try to centre Justin Olam.
Prior to that Souths had a chance to put some pressure on when Alex Johnston looked to have scored his second of the match but the winger’s try was disallowed with the video referee ruling an earlier obstruction.
Points were scarce early with the teams locked at 8-8 until the 57th minute.
Both sides were looking for their first win since the competition restart with the Rabbitohs never tasting victory in Melbourne in 16 attempts.
Possession and territory was level for most of the match with neither side taking control thanks to a strew of costly errors.
Despite perfect conditions, the Rabbitohs nudged the Storm in that department with 17, three ahead of the home side with both sides also struggling with their completions.
Souths led early after fullback Latrell Mitchell threw a brilliant long cut-out pass for Johnston to dive across.
Mitchell was among his team’s best with retired fullback legend Billy Slater in commentary declaring: “This is his best 40 minutes in a number one jersey”.
Melbourne had another moment to cheer with back-rower Chris Lewis, a school teacher from the Sunshine Coast, making his NRL debut late in the match with his parents able to watch while employed to collect balls from the empty stands.