In a genuine play-off fight, the South Sydney Rabbitohs welcomed Melbourne Storm to ANZ Stadium knowing a win would move them up to fourth in the ladder.
Just six minutes into the game, the Rabbitohs took the lead through the boot of Adam Reynolds after Cameron Smith was penalised for a dangerous tackle.
The entire first ten minutes was played inside the Melbourne half, as the Bunnies looked to score a try. However, stern defence from Ryan Papenhuyzen and Josh Addo-Carr kept the score at just 2-0.
The Rabbitohs should have scored in the 15th minute, but the pass from Damien Cook to Cameron Murray was forward.
Just after the 20th minute, the Storm looked to have scored.
Brenko Lee chased Cameron Munsters kick into the in-goal area but appeared to miss the ball before Isaac Lumelume grounded the loose ball.
However, on second viewing Lee was deemed to have knocked on before the try was scored.
In the very next set, Cody Walker noticed that Papenhuyzen was defending in the line and kicked ahead.
Lumelume thought the ball was heading over the dead-ball line, but Campbell Graham reached around the winger and grounded the ball for a spectacular finish.
The Storm hit back on the half-hour mark and they shifted the ball to Addo-Carr on the left edge, and with just Corey Allan to beat, the winger passed back inside to Papenhuyzen who raced into the corner to score.
Despite the resurgence from Melbourne, it was Souths who picked up their second try.
Reynolds, having returned following a head injury assessment, chose to run the ball on the last tackle, and put half-back partner Walker through a gap past Jahrome Hughes, Welch and Papenhuyzen to move ahead.
Right on half-time, the Storm made sure to get to within jut one score.
Hughes and Munster combined on the left to create a two-on-one on the outside.
This gave Papenhuyzen to time to release Justin Olam, and the centre raced away to score.
HALF-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 14-10 Melbourne Storm
Just a few minutes into the second half, Welch was penalised for a dangerous tackle, this allowed Reynolds to push the Rabbitohs back in front by six points.
Despite the Souths being on top of Melbourne in the opening ten minutes of the half once again, they were struggling to complete their sets when it counted most.
The Storm were beginning to test the South Sydney defence with Tino Faasuamaleaui going close.
The Rabbitohs were also conceding plenty of penalties at the ruck, gifting Melbourne plenty of chances to score.
Just before the hour mark, the Storm did finally level up.
Faasuamaleuai looked to have picked up a leg knock but the big man charged over from short range after a delicate pass from Cameron Smith.
Smith then converted for 16-16.
The Rabbitohs began to capitulate with ball in hand as they only completed five sets in just over 25 minutes.
With the home side tiring, Smith and Munster sped up the ruck to catch Souths on the back foot, and Papenhuyzen passed back inside to the half-back to slide over and give the visitors the lead.
Souths came within inches of hitting back through Alex Johnston, but the winger had to throw an offload back inside which only found a Melbourne hand.
With just three minutes left, Reynolds and Walker were going their best to put the game into golden point, but they just couldn’t keep the ball in hand.
FULL-TIME: South Sydney Rabbitohs 16-22 Melbourne Storm
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Allan, Johnston, Graham, Marsters, Paulo, Walker, Reynolds, Tatola, Cook, Burgess, Su’A, Sironen, Murray
Interchanges: Nicholls, Knight, Mago, Koloamatangi
Tries: Graham, Walker
Goals: Reynolds (4/4)
Papenhuyzen, Lumelume, Lee, Olam, Addo-Carr, Munster, Hughes, J. Bromwich, Smith, Welch, Kaufusi, K. Bromwich, Faasuamaleaui
Interchanges: Lewis, Hynes, Vete, Schonig
Tries: Papenhuyzen, Olam, Faasuamaleaui, Munster
Goals: Smith (3/4)
Referee: A. Klein
Touch Judges: T. Smith, P. Gough
Video Referee: B. Galea
Image Source: @NRL (twitter)