The Melbourne Storm have returned to the top of the table after holding on for a narrow 14-6 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at nib Stadium in Perth.
The Storm dominated first-half proceedings to establish a 10-6 half-time lead before they sealed the result five minutes from full-time when Suliasi Vunivalu barraged his way over the try-line.
Souths showed strong signs of character to repel a determined Melbourne side to a four-point advantage at the break but couldn’t convert a number of opportunities in the second half.
The Storm applied early pressure through their completions and accurate kicking game to force Souths to repeatedly bring the ball back off their own try-line.
Melbourne found success in the fifth minute as Will Chambers finished a swift movement to the right from 20 metres out to take a 6-0 lead.
Souths had few chances with the ball but after a handy penalty put them on the attack, they took advantage to score with their first opportunity on the Storm’s line. Dummy-half Robbie Farah held the ball up to find John Sutton who forced his way over the line and level the scores after 15 minutes.
The Storm regained the lead when Josh Addo-Carr grounded a pin-point Cameron Smith fifth-tackle grubber kick centimetres from the dead-ball line in the left corner.
The 25th-minute try gave Melbourne a four-point advantage they took into the sheds, which, after abstaining plenty of first-half pressure would give the Rabbitohs plenty of confidence for the second stanza.
While wet weather during the day played a part in the slippery affair, it didn’t excuse the sloppy ball handling that crept into the second half with both sides guilty of committing a number of errors.
It was the Rabbitohs who lamented their inability to capitalize on their chances after they were gifted with several chances on the Storm’s line.
When half Adam Reynolds left the field for an HIA test, Souths couldn’t find a way to claim the win with the Storm doing enough to hang on for the two competition points.
Melbourne Storm 14 (Will Chambers, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Addo-Carr tries; Cameron Smith 1 goal) def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (John Sutton try; Adam Reynolds 1 goal) at nib Stadium. Half-time: Storm 10-6.