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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 : 3350 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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RLFANS Match Centre
Sun 9th May
CH RND: 5 Swinton22-23Bradford
CH RND: 5 Dewsbury0-36Halifax
CH RND: 5 LondonB50-30Newcastle
CH RND: 5 York12-16Featherstone
NRL RND: 9 Manly38-32NZ Warriors
NRL RND: 9 St.George32-12Canterbury
CH RND: 5 Toulouse70-0Widnes
L1 RND: 1 Coventry20-38Barrow
L1 RND: 1 Hunslet16-28Workington
L1 RND: 1 Keighley44-18Doncaster
L1 RND: 1 Rochdale40-16West Wales
Sat 8th May
CC RND: 4 Hull FC20-10Wigan
CC RND: 4 Castleford19-18Salford
CH RND: 5 Oldham4-36Whitehaven
NRL RND: 9 Canberra16-24Newcastle
NRL RND: 9 Wests28-36Gold Coast
NRL RND: 9 NQL Cowboys19-18Brisbane
L1 RND: 1 LondonS24-44Crusaders
Fri 7th May
CC RND: 4 Catalans6-16Warrington
CC RND: 4 St.Helens23-18Huddersfield
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
National Rugby League 2021 ROUND : 10
 PLDFADIFFPNTS
Penrith 9 260 60 200 18
Parramatta 9 260 124 136 16
Melbourne 9 292 108 184 14
Souths 9 235 174 61 14
Sydney 9 254 123 131 12
St.George 9 193 169 24 10
 
Gold Coast 9 218 219 -1 8
NZ Warriors 9 189 216 -27 8
Manly 9 177 234 -57 8
Newcastle 9 161 220 -59 8
NQL Cowboys 9 165 255 -90 8
Canberra 9 173 209 -36 6
Cronulla 9 152 226 -74 4
Brisbane 9 140 240 -100 4
Wests 9 158 262 -104 4
Canterbury 9 92 280 -188 2
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Super League XXVI ROUND : 6
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St.Helens 5 128 34 94 10 376.47 100.00
Wigan 5 111 56 55 10 198.21 100.00
Castleford 5 131 78 53 8 167.95 80.00
Catalans 5 137 86 51 8 159.30 80.00
Hull FC 5 105 58 47 7 181.03 70.00
Warrington 5 144 81 63 7 177.78 70.00
 
Hull KR 5 105 134 -29 4 78.36 40.00
Huddersfield 5 68 98 -30 2 69.39 20.00
Leeds 5 63 99 -36 2 63.64 20.00
Salford 5 68 142 -74 2 47.89 20.00
Wakefield 5 66 154 -88 0 42.86 0.00
Leigh 5 66 172 -106 0 38.37 0.00
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred Championship 2021 ROUND : 6
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Toulouse 4 159 40 119 8 397.50 100.00
Featherstone 4 128 50 78 8 256.00 100.00
Batley 5 172 88 84 8 195.45 80.00
Bradford 5 127 134 -7 8 94.78 80.00
Sheffield 5 124 100 24 5 124.00 50.00
LondonB 5 124 145 -21 5 85.52 50.00
 
Halifax 5 155 101 54 4 153.47 40.00
York 5 126 93 33 4 135.48 40.00
Whitehaven 5 109 119 -10 4 91.60 40.00
Dewsbury 5 73 123 -50 4 59.35 40.00
Oldham 5 82 156 -74 4 52.56 40.00
Newcastle 5 120 153 -33 3 78.43 30.00
Widnes 5 106 180 -74 3 58.89 30.00
Swinton 5 74 197 -123 0 37.56 0.00
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
Betfred League One 2021 ROUND : 2
 PLDFADIFFPNTS
Keighley 1 44 18 26 2
Rochdale 1 40 16 24 2
Crusaders 1 44 24 20 2
Barrow 1 38 20 18 2
Workington 1 28 16 12 2
Hunslet 1 16 28 -12 0
 
Coventry 1 20 38 -18 0
LondonS 1 24 44 -20 0
West Wales 1 16 40 -24 0
Doncaster 1 18 44 -26 0
This is an inplay table and positions can change as matches are in play.
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St.HelensW 2 176 0 176 4
LeedsW 2 140 16 124 4
WiganW 2 90 8 82 4
CastlefordW 2 84 6 78 4
WakefieldW 1 0 44 -44 0
Wire W 1 8 52 -44 0
 
YorkW 1 16 68 -52 0
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BradfordW 2 0 124 -124 0
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