The day the Rabbits beat the Storm

Digital image by Colin Whelan

The South Sydney Rabbitohs record in matches against the Melbourne Storm isn’t good. In fact it’s terrible & at the time of writing at the end of the 2021 season the Storm have won 30 of their 35 encounters including the first match in 1998, 14-6.

Souths have allowed 951 points or an average of just over 27 points a game. Total points scored by the Bunnies against our Southern nemesis – 443 for an average of a miserly 12 & a half points.

When we play the Storm you can expect us to lose handsomely. Even now with our top 4 Grand Final contending side we still haven’t beaten them since 2018.

Most rugby league fans will know why this deplorable record has happened but for those that don’t or need a reminder let me enlighten you. The Storm had the ‘Big 3’, GI & a coach nicknamed ‘Belly Ache’.

Digital Image by Ian Knight

Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk & Greg Inglis are superstars of our game. Mix in legends like Glenn Lazarus & have them coached by Craig Bellamy & you have don’t just have a team you’ve created a dynasty.

Digital Image by Brett Crockford

The Melbourne Storm have a reputation for getting things right except of course for the salary cap cheating scandal that brought them disgrace & stripped them of titles that were won with an unfair advantage.

The fact the Storm illegally kept players they shouldn’t have does somewhat taint their dominant record against us but we’ll just move on.

Apart from that massive blemish the club seems to continually produce talent. The big 3 & Greg Inglis are all gone now but others have filled the void – Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith aka ‘The Block of Cheese’ & Harry Grant are all exceptional talents to say the least.

You get the idea they are hard to beat but it has been done & this article focuses on the first time that happened in 2003 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Digital image by Colin Whelan

Rabbitohs 41 – Storm 14, Sunday 8th June 2003.

The 2003 Rabbitohs coached by Paul Langmack only won 3 games that year on the way to the wooden spoon but 1 of those wins was their maiden defeat of the Storm.

Digital image by Colin Whelan

Hollywood star Russell Crowe sat on the sidelines with Langmack & blue shirt trainer Terry Coulits.

“Russell Crowe was filming the movie Master & Commander at this time.” says Terry Coulits. “I remember after the game Russell made a speech that had us all in stitches.”

Crowe was also seen standing with former Rabbitoh Sean Garlick in the crowd.

Souths winger Wise Kativerata scored a hat trick that day, Andrew Hart managed a double & a young Nathan Merritt was not surprisingly among the scorers as well.

Nathan Merritt try v Storm at SFS Sunday June 8th 2003. Digital image by Colin Whelan

Long time NRL photographer Colin Whelan captured some great images of the historic day for us to look back on.

Our next attempt to right the ledger is in round 2 of the 2022 season down at Melbourne’s home ground AAMI Park. Good luck boys win number 6 is due.

Digital Image by Brett Crockford