The Melbourne Storm have blown the South Sydney Rabbitohs off the park in a clinical display in a huge 24-6 win in Melbourne.
I said before the game that if the Rabbitohs were to win the match, their forward pack needed to step up and breathe fire for 80 minutes. They started the game looking like that was the plan and in the first few minutes they had the Storm under the pump taking the ball right up the middle of the field.
It didn’t last long though, and as the Storm absorbed the pressure, things turned around very quickly.
Cameron Smith was dominant, he was tearing the Rabbotohs to shreds and from about the 8th minute on, the Storm completely dominated every aspect of the game.
They managed to keep Greg Inglis out out of the contest by kicking away from him most of the night. This really hurt the Bunnies, without that roll on Inglis usually gives them from his kick returns, they were starting their sets off the back foot most of the night. The Storms defense was so aggresive, it was a huge contrast to the Rabbitohs defensive line that held back too much in the game and invited the Storm to just pick them apart.
This really was a game between one team that has been to the finals and are used to high pressure football, and another side that isn’t used to that level of football. The Rabbitohs just couldn’t lift their game to another level and that is a worry I had about them leading into the finals.
We also saw the Rabbitohs halves struggle against the rushing Storm defense, but it is hard to single them out, all the Bunnies struggled with it. I though Greg Inglis should have injected himself more into the Rabbitohs attacking like. As they kept him out of the game as much as possible on kick returns, I felt it was up to him to make sure he got more touches. He did later in the game, but by then it was all over.
The Storm basically got a big lead and just kept their foot on the Rabbitohs throat.
So the Storm get week two of the finals off and go straight through to week three. They look really good. The Bulldogs put in a terriific performance against an inform side in what was a war, but the way the Storm picked apart the Rabbitoh’s, that will make every team in the finals take notice. My only worry is that, after a big win in week one, and then with a week off, the Storm may not be as battle hardened as the opposition they face in week three.
The Rabbitohs will take on the winner of the game between the Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders. They should improve but their record against top 8 teams really is poor so maybe this year for them is a lesson in where they need to be in the future.
As I said a few weeks ago, The Rabbitohs Aren’t A True Contender Just Yet.
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