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Storm edge Rabbitohs 17-10

Kevin Proctor scores a try

The contenders threw down the challenge but Melbourne once again proved just why they remain the NRL yardstick with a 17-10 victory over South Sydney.
Storm edge Rabbitohs 17-10
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, April 13 AAP - The contenders threw down the challenge but Melbourne once again proved just why they remain the NRL yardstick with a 17-10 victory over South Sydney in Saturday night's battle of the league's only two unbeaten teams.

Now only the Storm can boast a perfect record after six rounds, the premiers unbeaten since July last year after emerging three-tries-to-two winners in a match which lived-up to its blockbuster billing.

In their first visit to ANZ Stadium since securing the 2012 title, the Storm were directed brilliantly by halfback Cooper Cronk, who set up tries with both passes and kicks before icing the game with a field goal four minutes from fulltime.

The Rabbitohs only made two errors in the opening half but both were punished as Cronk first set up Kevin Proctor and then Mahe Fonua.

Former Storm star Greg Inglis did his best to drag Souths over the with an athletic leap for his side's first try eight minutes after halftime to make it 12-6, and at that stage the home side was full of running and the 32,671-strong crowd full of voice.

Burgess brothers Sam and George were bending the line with every run, but calls for a Billy Slater knock-on on his own line went ignored when another try loomed.

A minute later the Storm were out by 10 points when Gareth Widdop beat three defenders from 10 metres out.

Some Souths heads dropped but there was still life when Andrew Everingham dived over in the corner with eight minutes to go, but this is a Storm side that just knows how to win as Cronk extended their lead beyond a converted try.

Late drama threatened when Slater was sin-binned after a try-saver on Nathan Merritt with less than two minutes remaining, but time and a relentless Storm were against the Rabbitohs.

Despite the dominant start to the season, Storm skipper Cameron Smith warned his side had yet to hit top gear.

"Being 6-0 is a pretty good spot to be in leading into all this rep footy," Smith said.

"The good thing about the way we're going about things is we're not satisfied with the way we're playing at the moment.

"Obviously we're very pleased with the results, but we've still got our best footy ahead of us.

"You can still feel out on the field that we're a little bit off the mark with the things we want to do."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he anticipated having as many as 10 players involved in next weekend's representative fixtures.

The Rabbitohs are also likely to have a heavy representation, but coach Michael Maguire said the loss to the Storm highlighted the gulf between the the premiers and the rest.

"It came down to moments in the game which the Storm have been doing for a long, long time - they take their opportunities when they arise," Maguire said.

"We're building as a group - each week we're taking lessons as we go."


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