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The bookies couldn’t pick a favourite as the Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs kicked the first ball of the 2021 NRL season in the much-anticipated game at the AAMI Park in Melbourne.

The Storm won both games between the two sides in 2020 and have a fantastic record against the Bunnies having only lost to them on five occasions since 1998. Souths have never beaten the Storm on this ground, a record which coach Bennett would be painfully aware as he plotted a winning start to the campaign against the defending champions.

The Storm hadn’t lost a round one game since 2001 and coach Bellamy was in no mood to let that record slip on his watch.

There were less than three minutes on the clock when Melbourne struck for their first try of the season. Cameron Munster threw an outrageous dummy fifteen from the line and dropped the shoulder to outpace the wrong-footed Souths defence and cross for a criminally simple try. Ryan Papenhuyzen added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

On nine the Storm went in for their second after a sensational Jesse Bromwich break put them in prime position. A fast play-the-ball saw them outnumber the Bunnies defence with Justin Olam being on hand to take the final pass and dive over. Papenhuyzen added the conversion for a stunning start for the home side.

Papenhuyzen grabbed the third Storm try on seventeen, executing the perfect one-two with Kenny Bromwich and taking the inside pass to coast over the line from ten metres. The full-back added his extras for 18-0, Melbourne totally dominant.

Just before the half-hour mark Papenhuyzen got his second with a terrific burst of speed to outpace four Souths defenders and run the angle to dive over in the right-hand corner and ground the ball before sliding into touch. Papnhuyzen made his first error of the game, unable to convert the touchline conversion opportunity.

Seven minutes before the interval and Souths finally got on the scoreboard when Alex Johnston took a Latrell Mitchell pass to score a summersault try in the left corner. Adam Reynolds blasted his kick between the uprights from the touchline for 22-6, but it was still a mountain for the Sydney side to climb as the half time hooter sounded.

The Rabbitohs made it back-to-back tries as they opened the second half scoring as Cody Walker took a Benji Marshall pass and put in a delightful final pass to Johnston to dive over in the corner for his second of the night. Reynolds was again accurate from the touchline to reduce the arrears to ten points.

Dane Gagai lost the ball deep in his own twenty and two plays later the Storm were awarded a penalty and accepted the opportunity for a twelve-point lead as Papenhuyzen slotted over the goal.

The Rabbitohs were in again on fifty-six for a third unanswered try as Mitchell ran the angle to outpace the last two Melbourne tacklers and ground, one-handed, in the corner. Pepenhuyzen added a third sensational touchline conversion and with just one converted try between the sides it was game with more than a quarter of the game remaining.

A sixtieth minute Reynolds penalty from thirty metres out gave the Storm a little breathing space.

Thomas Burgess was stretchered off on seventy-five after landing heavily on his shoulder in the tackle, taking some of the gloss off a thrilling game.

The final hooter permitted 50% capacity home crowd made plenty of noise and got the season opener that they had prayed for with the Champions getting off to a winning start as they defend their crown. The Rabbitohs fightback salvaged some pride but it was not enough to really scare the Storm.

Melbourne Storm: Papenhuyzen (2T, 4G), Jennings, Smith R, Olam (T), Addo-Carr, Munster (T), Hughes, Bromwich J, Smith B, Welch, Kaufusi, Bromwich K, Asofa-Solomona. Subs: Lewis, Kamikamica, Eisenhuth, Smoothy.

South Sydney Rabbitohs: Mitchell (T), Johnston (2T), Gagai, Graham, Mansour, Walker, Reynolds (4G), Burgess, Cook, Tatola, Host, Su’A, Murray. Subs: Marshall, Nicholls, Kolomatango, Arrow.

Half-Time: 22-6.

Full-Time: 26-18.

Referee: Grant Atkins.




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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Thu 11th Mar 2021 10:58 AM | Views : 3526 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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RLFANS Match Centre
Sun 16th May
CH RND: 6 Whitehaven0-66Toulouse
CH RND: 6 Widnes14-35York
NRL RND: 10 NZ Warriors18-34Parramatta
NRL RND: 10 Melbourne44-18St.George
NRL RND: 10 Gold Coast12-48Penrith
WSL RND: 3 WakefieldW6-74LeedsW
WSL RND: 3 Wire W6-54St.HelensW
WSL RND: 3 BradfordW20-28Hudds W
WSL RND: 3 FeatherstoneW14-42YorkW
L1 RND: 2 Workington50-16LondonS
L1 RND: 2 Barrow40-18Keighley
L1 RND: 2 Doncaster30-22Rochdale
Sat 15th May
CH RND: 6 Batley6-40LondonB
NRL RND: 10 Canterbury18-20Canberra
NRL RND: 10 Cronulla22-32Souths
NRL RND: 10 Sydney30-16NQL Cowboys
L1 RND: 2 Crusaders18-26Hunslet
L1 RND: 2 West Wales10-36Coventry
Fri 14th May
SLRND: 6 Leeds15-13Wakefield
NRL RND: 10 Wests36-18Newcastle
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
National Rugby League 2021 ROUND : 10
 PLDFADIFFPNTS
Penrith 10 308 72 236 20
Parramatta 10 294 142 152 18
Melbourne 10 336 126 210 16
Souths 10 267 196 71 16
Sydney 10 284 139 145 14
St.George 10 211 213 -2 10
 
Manly 10 227 240 -13 10
Canberra 10 193 227 -34 8
Gold Coast 10 230 267 -37 8
NZ Warriors 10 207 250 -43 8
Newcastle 10 179 256 -77 8
NQL Cowboys 10 181 285 -104 8
Wests 10 194 280 -86 6
Cronulla 10 174 258 -84 4
Brisbane 10 146 290 -144 4
Canterbury 10 110 300 -190 2
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Super League XXVI ROUND : 6
 PLDFADIFFPNTSDIFFWP%
St.Helens 5 128 34 94 10 376.47 100
Wigan 5 111 56 55 10 198.21 100
Castleford 5 131 78 53 8 167.95 80
Catalans 5 137 86 51 8 159.30 80
Hull FC 5 105 58 47 7 181.03 70
Warrington 5 144 81 63 7 177.78 70
 
Hull KR 5 105 134 -29 4 78.36 40
Leeds 6 78 112 -34 4 69.64 33.33
Huddersfield 5 68 98 -30 2 69.39 20
Salford 5 68 142 -74 2 47.89 20
Wakefield 6 79 169 -90 0 46.75 0
Leigh 5 66 172 -106 0 38.37 0
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Championship 2021 ROUND : 6
 PLDFADIFFPNTSDIFFWP%
Toulouse 5 225 40 185 10 562.50 100
Featherstone 4 128 50 78 8 256 100
Bradford 5 127 134 -7 8 94.78 80
Batley 6 178 128 50 8 139.06 66.67
LondonB 6 164 151 13 7 108.61 58.33
York 6 161 107 54 6 150.47 50
 
Sheffield 5 124 100 24 5 124 50
Halifax 5 155 101 54 4 153.47 40
Dewsbury 5 73 123 -50 4 59.35 40
Oldham 5 82 156 -74 4 52.56 40
Whitehaven 6 109 185 -76 4 58.92 33.33
Newcastle 5 120 153 -33 3 78.43 30
Widnes 6 120 215 -95 3 55.81 25
Swinton 5 74 197 -123 0 37.56 0
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred League One 2021 ROUND : 2
 PLDFADIFFPNTSDIFFWP%
Workington 2 78 32 46 4 243.75 100
Barrow 2 78 38 40 4 205.26 100
Rochdale 2 62 46 16 2 134.78 50
Crusaders 2 62 50 12 2 124 50
Coventry 2 56 48 8 2 116.67 50
Keighley 2 62 58 4 2 106.90 50
 
Hunslet 2 42 46 -4 2 91.30 50
Doncaster 2 48 66 -18 2 72.73 50
LondonS 2 40 94 -54 0 42.55 0
West Wales 2 26 76 -50 0 34.21 0
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Womens Super League 2021 ROUND : 3
 PLDFADIFFPNTSDIFFWP%
St.HelensW 3 230 6 224 6 3,833.33 100
CastlefordW 2 84 6 78 4 1,400 100
WiganW 2 90 8 82 4 1,125 100
LeedsW 3 214 22 192 6 972.73 100
YorkW 2 58 82 -24 2 70.73 50
Hudds W 2 28 110 -82 2 25.45 50
 
FeatherstoneW 3 20 154 -134 0 12.99 0
BradfordW 3 20 152 -132 0 13.16 0
Wire W 2 14 106 -92 0 13.21 0
WakefieldW 2 6 118 -112 0 5.08 0
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