Embed from Getty ImagesMelbourne Storm Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs at AAMI Park, Saturday 7.30pm.
Melbourne look to consolidate top two effort against wounded Rabbits
This would have been seen as a brilliant match up when the draw was scheduled late last year and not many people would have predicted the fall from grace that South Sydney have had in season 2016. The icing on the cake was last week’s 54-4 humiliation at the hands of the Canberra Raiders which left even the most ardent Souths fans scratching their heads for answers. I guess the only positive news to come out of this is the fact that a majority of teams that have heavy losses generally manage to bounce back the following week. Question is, can the Rabbitohs stop this Melbourne Storm juggernaut that doesn’t look like it is slowing down at all?
Defense needs to improve ten fold and particularly the communication on the edges which has been very poor in recent weeks.
Melbourne? Where to begin? The Storm have been brilliant this season and can find themselves a tad unlucky to not be in first place. Even so, they have a set a fantastic standard of discipline that has been adapted by everyone at the club which has directly led to good results on the field.
A typical grinding effort was displayed last week and even despite no Jonathan Thurston, the Storm didn’t get caught up in the hype and put in a professional effort and again walked away with the 2 competition points.
Despite where Souths are on the ladder, you can bet your bottom dollar that Craig Bellamy won’t be approaching this game any differently and will have his troops primed for a huge game where the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be desperate to prove themselves against a premiership contender.
Last Meeting: Melbourne Storm 16 defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 at AAMI Park, Round 10, 2015.
The Storm have won 7 of the last 8 against Souths including never losing a match at AAMI Park against the Rabbits. Will this trend continue on Saturday night?
Who To Watch: The Melbourne Storm have based their good performances this season on their defence and it is no surprise to see them as the number 1 defensive unit in the NRL. Obviously a lot of this has come down to some astute coaching by Craig Bellamy but one of the players that has been a defensive rock for them this year has been Tohu Harris.
Whether it has been in the halves, centre or in his favoured position of back row, Harris has proved his worth and carved out a very impressive 2016 campaign. A brilliant technical tackler, he is a great reader of the play. However it’s not just his defence that has been impressive with 7 tries, 2 try assists and 8 line breaks next to his name. A multi purpose forward that has all the tools of a superstar.
Souths have had a very difficult last 8 weeks but if they want to rediscover their winning ways then it has to be through Greg Inglis. He returns from suspension for the first time since State of Origin 3 and lines up in the halves. He is a sight for sore eyes for Rabbitohs fans who will be desperate for him to rediscover his tackle busting, line breaking, try scoring form from 2014. The plan will be to isolate him with a few of the Melbourne smaller defenders 1 on 1 and let “GI” do his damage. Look for that iconic fend of his, Inglis will be chomping at the bit to get out there on Saturday and could have a huge impact if given the chance.
The Favourite: Melbourne red hot favourites against Souths in this clash.
My Tip: The Storm to maintain their pressure on the Sharks at the top of the ladder with another win. Away from home I can’t see how Souths can stop this juggernaut Melbourne outfit and all the points they have though out the squad. Defence is the aim of the game for Souths, they need to be at their best to challenge the Storm.
Storm by 6.