Munster stars as Melbourne trump Souths
Melbourne have hung tough for an ugly 22-8 NRL win over South Sydney on Friday night to continue the Rabbitohs' horror winless record south of the border.
Melbourne's star five-eighth Cameron Munster proved the difference in the AAMI Park clash, setting up two tries including one from a genius kick into the in-goal that was collected by flying winger Josh-Addo Carr.
Skipper Cameron Smith booted that difficult conversion in the 67th minute for an eight-point margin to lock in the win before a late try to centre Justin Olam.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Munster had continued his impressive start the season.
"Cameron did a terrific job and I thought it was a carry on from last week," Bellamy said.
After rating last week's shocker against Canberra as "embarrassing", Bellamy was much happier the Souths outing.
"A lot of times during that game we were rocking and rolling but we still managed to find a way to stop tries," Bellamy said.
"The opposition made plenty of errors which made it easier on us.
"I was disappointed last week with some of our effort areas and I think they were much better."
Points were scarce early with the teams locked at 8-8 until the 57th minute.
Both sides were looking for their first win since the competition restart with the Rabbitohs never tasting victory in Melbourne in 16 attempts.
Possession and territory was level for most of the match with neither side taking control thanks to a strew of costly errors.
Despite perfect conditions, the Rabbitohs nudged the Storm in that department with 17, three ahead of the home side with both sides also struggling with their completions.
Souths led early after fullback Latrell Mitchell threw a brilliant long cut-out pass for Johnston to dive across.
Mitchell was among his team's best with retired fullback legend Billy Slater in commentary declaring: "This is his best 40 minutes in a number one jersey".
Souths coach Wayne Bennett said his team's 63 per cent completion rate was their downfall.
"There was a lot of effort but our execution didn't give us a chance in the end," Bennett said.
"We only completed three from seven in the last 15 minutes before halftime and we recognised that was an issue for it but we went out in the second half and doubled it up."
Bennett was still optimistic about how their season looked despite just one win, particularly with Cody Walker to return next round.
"I've got a fair bit of optimism that we can get where we want to go and be a lot better than we are right now," Bennett said.
Melbourne had another moment to cheer with back-rower Chris Lewis, a school teacher from the Sunshine Coast, making his NRL debut late in the match with his parents able to watch while employed to collect balls from the empty stands.
Addo-Carr played the bulk of the match with a rib-cartilage injury but will be available for their trip to the NSW central coast to meet Newcastle next Saturday.