The Melbourne Storm started life without Cameron Smith as a winner and the South Sydney Rabbitohs fended off at 26:18 and won in AAMI Park

The storm’s season opening win was triggered by an attack in the first half, in which the hosts achieved a 22-0 lead into the break in four attempts

Star Five-Eight Cody Walker led a Rabbitohs fight in the second half, one with a brilliant cut-out ball to get Alex Johnston in the left corner and the other with a ball that went to an attempt led by Latrell Mitchell on the same margin

The Storm hasn’t lost in the first round since 2001, which means they haven’t lost a season opener since Craig Bellamy took the reins in 2003

Boom South Sydney, fifth and eighth Cody Walker, has launched two rapid fire attempts to push the Rabbitohs back into the competition against the storm at AAMI Park

The NSW playmaker put Alex Johnston in 43 Minute with a ball of a cut-out ball on the left edge before Adam Reynolds added the extras

And Walker re-instilled his authority on the match when he played a hand 12 minutes later on Latrell Mitchell’s first try of the season

When Reynolds converted Mitchell’s four-pointer, the Rabbitohs had closed to within eight points before the storm, with the scoreline being 26-18

Remarkably, Melbourne had taken a 22-0 lead at halftime, but Wayne Bennett’s men rekindled their chances of winning

Expert Nine Commentator Phil Gould said that Rabbitoh’s veteran recruit, Benji Marshall, played a pivotal role in Johnston’s attempt

“I think it’s the two tries they made on that wing that Benji got the first touch,” said Gould

“I think they used to run a little too far into defense and Benji managed to get the defenders on but still got the ball away early enough for Latrell or Cody Walker to think about it. He didn’t go too far in line; he gave Cody Walker time, some time to think

“I used to think they were running a little too far in line. It’s a fine line, but I think Benji Marshall’s experience there gave Walker time”

Ryan Papenhuyzen packs his second of the night just before halfway while pushing his legs to the inside of the corner post

At the other end, South Sydney manages to distribute the ball to Alex Johnston on an acre of space to score the first points of the night

The reigning champions have just made their third attempt of the night, leaving the Rabbitohs utterly shocked for the first 15 minutes of the game!

It was Justin Olam who watched Cameron Munster’s attempt to open in the third minute

And a few games later, Ryan Papenhuyzen would follow suit to raise the storm by 18 in no time

The Melbourne Storm may have started life in the best possible way without their legendary hooker, getting a try within three minutes of their season opener against the Rabbitohs

The ball benefited from an early six and switched to Cameron Munster, who caught Latrell Mitchell with a nice dummy in two heads

From there, it was as easy as you’d like when Münster slipped through the rabbits’ defensive line for a sensational season opener attempt

“This is an explosive opening from the defending prime ministers. The Rabbitohs are thinking, ‘What did we get into?’ “

The eighth Immortal Andrew Johns noted that it was Mitchell who was caught trying to cut a possible section that gave Munster early space

And the 2021 season has officially started when the Rabbitohs set us off against the storm at AAMI Park!

Remember the name! The Melbourne Storm sparked a debut surprise when Tyson Smoothy replaced Harry Grant on the bench

1 Ryan Papenhuyzen 2 George Jennings 3 Reimis Smith 4 Justin Olam 5 Josh Addo-Carr 6 Cameron Munster 7 Jahrome Hughes 8 Jesse Bromwich 9 Brandon Smith 10 Christian Welch 11 Felise Kaufusi 12 Kenneath Bromwich 13 Nelson Asofa-Solomona 14 Chris Lewis 15 Tui Kamikamica 16 Tom Eisenhuth 21 Tyson Smoothy

1 Latrell Mitchell 2 Alex Johnston 3 Dane Gagai 4 Campbell Graham 5 Josh Mansour 6 Cody Walker 7 Adam Reynolds 8 Thomas Burgess 9 Damien Cook 10 Tevita Tatola 11 Jacob Host 12 Jaydn Su’A 13 Cameron Murray 14 Benji Marshall 15 Mark Nicholls 16 Keaon Koloamatangi 17 Jai Arrow

South’s Center Campbell Graham had just turned four when Benji Marshall first stepped on an NRL field

Now, almost 18 years later, they will compete as teammates when Marshall makes his Rabbitohs debut at today’s season opener against Melbourne at AAMI Park

It’s Marshall’s fifth NRL club and probably his last at the age of 36.But more than a decade and a half after the flick-pass in the 2005 grand finale that made him a household name, the former New Zealand captain remains one of the best Attackers in the game

With Cameron Smith confirming his retirement, Marshall is now the oldest player in the NRL However, as Immortal Andrew Johns pointed out in Wide World of Sports’ Freddy and The Eighth, that won’t stop him from making an impact

“His ball game has never been a concern, but once he gives it up, there is no better attacker

“He’s inspired a generation of young players, especially young Kiwi players, and it’s great to have him still there

It’s an assessment by Brad Fittler, New South Wales coach, who said Marshall’s career was cheap compared to some of the greats

“He connected a whole generation of young children and wanted something more exciting,” he said

“He was the one they all saw when talking about his legacy, his legacy is almost as good as any other in the game

The 324-game veteran is on a one-year contract with Souths, and Fittler believes Master Coach Wayne Bennett can get the most out of Marshall

“I think it will be crucial when you recruit him unless one of the halves gets injured I don’t know how much center he could play Cam Murray usually plays there and does a pretty good job”

“I think it will be easier to defend it in the middle than to defend it on the edge You have fewer decisions and lots of people to help you

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World news – AU – Storm starts the post-Smith era in style