The first of Friday night’s NRL Round 22 matches is between Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs. The opening kick is set to commence at 7:35PM local time with the game to be played at AAMI Park. The home team the Melbourne Storm are the current favourites in the market. View our preview and teams for the game between Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Melbourne put two losses and a difficult State of Origin period well and truly behind them last week by defeating Canberra at Canberra stadium – the first team to do so all year, by a massive 68-4.
The Storm were back to their ruthless best with six individual try-scorers, running in a combined tally of twelve tries.
The Storm returns to AAMI Park for their first home game in three weeks, a venue where they possess a strong winning record of 7-1-1.
South Sydney has been dealt two surprise losses in the past month, firstly to St. George in Golden Point time and last week, when taking on the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville 30 – 12.
It was Souths heaviest loss of the season and as they head into this game, their third successive interstate trip, they’ll miss the strike power of Greg Inglis and playmaking capabilities of John Sutton who is out with a sprained ankle.
Add to the mix Melbourne’s impeccable head-to-head record over Souths having won nine of the past ten, including a 17 – 10 win back in round 6 of this year, and the Storm look hard to beat.
They are so big they don’t exactly need a target on their backs but South Sydney’s Burgess boys are in the sights of Melbourne Storm in their heavyweight NRL clash on Friday night.
While Souths have plenty of talent in their backline, Melbourne believe that stopping their go-forward is key to victory at AAMI Park.
Veteran Melbourne prop Jason Ryles says Souths bases a lot of their attack around English Test prop Sam Burgess, his younger brother George and his twin Thomas.
“They’re massive. It’s like they’re playing with little boys sometimes – that’s how big and strong they look,” Ryles said.
“They’re going to be a handful.
“A lot of the good things that Souths do in attack come off the back of those boys, especially Sam and George.”
The Storm pack got another stern test of their credentials against the burly Raiders, who they shut down in a 68-4 thrashing last round.
Not that Ryles expects the Melbourne forwards to get any credit for it.
“We have pressure on us every week because I don’t think anyone really rates us, but we don’t really care about that.
“We just go out and do our job.”
Set to retire at season’s end, 34-year-old Ryles is hoping to end his career with a grand final victory.
He missed playing in the Storm’s 2012 triumph because of a hamstring injury.
“Hamstring last year and then I hurt my medial earlier this season, but it’s starting to feel good.
“Touch wood, I’ll be able to build into the finals.”
Ryles says wins like that against the Raiders are ones to treasure as his career winds down.
He said there was no indication before the game that such a flawless performance was brewing.
“We just prepared the same as we do every week and sometimes those things happen when a lot things you put on on the day come off.
“It won’t mean much if we don’t back it up this week.”