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Melbourne continues unbeaten home run over Souths in NRL

May 17, 2015

SYDNEY (AP) — Melbourne has maintained its home-field mastery over defending champion South Sydney with a 16-12 win, moving the Storm into first place in the National Rugby League.

South Sydney is winless in 12 attempts at the Storm’s home ground. The Rabbitohs trailed 16-2 at halftime and kept the Storm scoreless in the second half to nearly eke out their first win in the Victorian state capital.

The Storm, North Queensland, Brisbane and St. George Illawarra all have 14 points, but Melbourne is ahead on goal difference. North Queensland beat Brisbane 31-20 to help knock the previously leading Broncos out of first.

St. George Illawarra joined the leading group with a 32-18 win over the Canberra Raiders on Sunday. The Dragons are in second place, followed by the Broncos and North Queensland.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said his team went into an attacking “shell” in the second half attempting to protect the lead.

“Our defense was the highlight of the performance,” Bellamy said. “We made more mistakes than we wanted but we defended really well.”

In golden point extra time matches on Saturday, a field goal by 19-year-old winger Valentine Holmes gave Cronulla a 23-22 win over Gold Coast, while forward Bodene Thompson scored a try in extra time to give the New Zealand Warriors a 17-13 win over Parramatta.

On Friday, North Queensland helped tighten the race for first place when it beat the Broncos, the Cowboys’ seventh win in a row.

Michael Morgan scored three tries for the Cowboys, including his team’s first after it trailed by 12 points after 20 minutes. A Johnathan Thurston penalty goal on halftime gave the Cowboys a 14-12 lead at the break. Morgan’s second try gave the Cowboys a 26-12 lead and his third in the final minutes provide the insurance.

Canterbury’s English prop James Graham left the match with a concussion in the 27th minute and the Bulldogs skipper watched from the sidelines as his team lost 24-10 to the Sydney Roosters. Graham was making his return from a four-week suspension.

Manly takes on Penrith on Monday to close out the 10th round.

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