Souths need winning feeling against Storm

Scott Bailey
Alex Johnston is one of many South Sydney players seeking his first ever win against Melbourne

For 11 South Sydney players winning Friday night's blockbuster against Melbourne would mean far more than two precious NRL competition points.

Yes, the NRL's minor premiership is in play, with the winner set to take a two-point lead at the top of the ladder with four rounds to go.

The Rabbitohs also freely admit the clash with the defending champions looms as a litmus test - a real guide to their form, strengths and weaknesses going toward the finals despite 10 wins from their last 11 games.

But crucially, if Souths are to compete for this year's title, they need to know they can beat perennial contenders Melbourne, who have played in seven of the last 12 grand finals, including the last two.

It's something they've done only four times in their history and not since 2013.

Disturbingly, of the South Sydney players who beat Parramatta last week, 11 have never enjoyed a win over Melbourne.

In total, the 17 men who faced the Eels have played Melbourne a combined 83 times for just 11 wins.

Talisman forward Sam Burgess is 2-9 against them.

Currently sidelined by injury, Rabbitohs skipper Greg Inglis is in much the same boat, having had only one win from eight clashes with his former club.

"It'll be a massive confidence boost (if we win)," admitted fullback Alex Johnston, who has a 0-4 record against Melbourne.

"We definitely need this win - or I do because, as you pointed out, I haven't beat them. So it will be good for the resume.

"They're a very good defensive side so we need to bring our A game with the offence."

While the Storm are flying with eight straight wins the Rabbitohs admit they haven't been at their best in the past month.

They were forced to fight back from 20-6 down against the Eels on Saturday night, a week after their nine-match winning streak was ended by the Wests Tigers.

Despite that they sit second and are desperate to wrap up a top-four or even top-two finish, which would ensure they don't have to leave Sydney in the finals if they keep winning.

"We spoke about how (this match) would be a good test to see where we're at in the comp," prop George Burgess said.

"Melbourne are probably leading the way in the competition along with the Roosters. It's going to be a big test for us and we need to improve."

RABBITOHS' RECORDS AGAINST MELBOURNE

Alex Johnston: 0-4

Campbell Graham: 0-1

Hymel Hunt: 0-2

Dane Gagai: 3-7

Robert Jennings: 0-2

Cody Walker: 0-3

Adam Reynolds: 1-8

Tom Burgess: 0-5

Damien Cook: 0-3

George Burgess: 1-6

John Sutton: 2-15

Angus Crichton: 0-3

Sam Burgess: 2-9

Adam Doueihi: 0-0

Cameron Murray: 0-1

Jason Clark: 2-3

Tevita Tatola: 0-0

Total: 11-72

Source: Fox Sports Stats