In what is probably the greatest night since their return to the NRL, a courageous South Sydney side has defied the odds and chalked up a close 28-26 win against the Melbourne Storm.
Trailing 16 nil after only 18 minutes, Souths fought back thanks to some slick work from their fast back line and hard work from their forwards.
At half time, the Storm were in front 16-12.
Typically, Melbourne Storm were never out of the match with their champion halfback Matt Orford leading them around the paddock and big forwards Alex Chan and Kirk Reynoldson running hard and getting through an enormous amount of work.
In the end the Souths out enthused their opponents and completed more sets. Memorable moments include the running of Lee Hookey and the attacking nature of Joe Williams and both wingers Wes Tillott and Luke McDougall.
The first grade side completed a clean sweep for the Rabbits, who also won the Premier league and the Jersey Flegg matches against Canterbury.
A memorable and exciting start to the first grade coaching career of Arthur Kitinas, who took the reigns from Paul Langmack earlier in the week. Hardly an overnight success, Kitinas chalked up 10 years as Roosters lower grade coach and now has a 100% success rate in the NRL.
Next week The Storm get to regroup and fine tune, while Souths get ready for two traditional tussles in as many weeks. Manly at Brookie and the Saints at the SCG.
Aussie Stadium Referee: Matt Cecchin Video Referee: Paul Simpkins Touch Judges: Peter Sciberras, Allen Foster
RABBITOHS 28 Tries: Harrison, Fa'alogo, McDougall, Tillott2 Goals: Williams 4/6 defeated STORM 26 Tries: 2 Chan, Kidwell, Bell, Cooper Goals: Orford 3/5 goals
By the clock:
Crowd: 6855 Welcome to the Sydney Football Stadium for tonight's Round 14 match between the Rabbitohs and The Storm. Souths lead up to the week started with the sacking of coach Paul Langmack and the installation of caretaker coach Arthur Kitinas.
PL= Souths 34, Canterbury 26 JF = Souths 32- Canterbury 20
6 min: TRY Melbourne Souths started strongly, but Melbourne have struck first blood with a try to Alex Chan. After a move started by Orford, Alex Chan has scored an easy try. Orford converts Storm 6-0
13 mins: Melbourne attacking after centre Steve Bell is held up over the line.
14 mins: TRY Melbourne Quick play the ball seees Second Rower David Kidwell over the line. Orford converts. Storm 12-0
17 mins: TRY Melbourne Steven bell scores off a Matt Orford grubber, which Luke McDougall misfields. Orford misses his first goal of the night. Storm 16-0
25 minutes. Lee Hookey makes a great break and is held up over the line.
31 minutes. TRY Souths Ashley Harrison puts Souths on the board with a try. Converted by Joe Williams. Storm 16-6
34 minutes. TRY Souths David Fa'alogo under the posts for Souths after a good set up by Joe Williams. Williams converts. Souths back in the game. Storm 16-12
Riding on the back of penalties, and an enthusiastic home crowd, Souths have fought their way back into this game after Melbourne raced to a 16-0 lead.
43 minutes: Souths knock back the option to kick and back themselves, after a penalty. Kick into the in-goal batted dead. Pressure back on melbourne after a drop out
45 minutes:TRY Souths Luke McDougall on last tackle. After a short ball from Joe Williams. Williams kicks the conversion. Rabbitohs 18-16
A crowd of 6000 never made so much noise.
52 minutes: Some strong attack from Souths sees a line drop out. Melbourne have defended 3 sets in a row and appear to be tiring.
60 mins: Try Melbourne. A great break by centre Steven Bell who got it to Dustin Cooper who finishes it out. Oford from the touchline misses the conversion. Storm 20-18
66 minutes: Video Ref Owen Craigie grubbers the ball into the in-goal and Jake Webster fumbles, with Wes Tillott jumping on the ball. Ref says TRY
66 mins Try Souths Wes Tillott. Joe Williams kicks the goal (just) Rabbitohs 24-20
71 mins TRY Souths What's considered one of Souths best tries of the year, Wes Tillott scores his second try in 5 minutes. From a break from Lee Hookey, and an around the corner pass from Williams. Williams misses a goal. 8 minutes to go. Rabbitohs 28-20
78 minutes TRY Storm Gone for all money, Alex Chan takes a short pass from Orford and scores a good run easily beating Brad Watts. Orford converts. Have the Storm left it too late? Rabbitohs 28-26
Only a forward pass has stopped Cronk scoring under the posts.
The game has been won by Souths 28-26.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - J Williams (Rabbitohs) 2 - W Tillott (Rabbitohs) 1 - M Orford (Storm) -----------------------------------------