Why history is against the Rabbitohs
IT'S the shocking record the stumbling South Sydney Rabbitohs will have to block from their minds heading into Friday night's top-of-the-table showdown with Melbourne.
Fox Sports Stats show that not only have the Rabbitohs not beaten the Storm since 2013, but in 28 games played between the clubs Souths have only managed to win four of those matches.
In fact, Souths have lost their last five meetings with that win in the 2013 finals series their only victory against Craig Bellamy's men in their last 12 matches.
It's not a history that would fill Souths' fans with any great confidence, especially given the Rabbitohs also go into this game coming off two pretty ordinary performances.
They had their nine-match winning run ended in the shock loss to Wests Tigers and were lucky to get out of jail with a come-from-behind 26-20 win over last-placed Parramatta on Saturday.
It's no surprise Melbourne is now outright premiership favourites ahead of Sydney Roosters, Souths and St George Illawarra.
To make the challenge for Souths even more difficult, Anthony Seibold confirmed Sunday there is no plans to rush Greg Inglis back from injury for Friday night's game.
Inglis hasn't played since breaking his thumb against North Queensland in round 16 and Seibold said the inspirational skipper still has two weeks to go on the sidelines.
That means Inglis will miss the Melbourne game followed by another crucial clash against the Sydney Roosters before returning in round 23 against Brisbane.
This is a challenging period for the Rabbitohs.
After such a great start to the season, it is important for them to arrest their worrying recent form sooner rather than later with the competition for a top four finish so intense.
Seibold conceded after the win over Parramatta that if they don't improve on what they showed in the first half the Storm "will put a cricket score on us".
"That is the reality," Seibold said.
"Certainly, there is no bigger test than the previous year's premiers.
"If you look at the last three or four years they have been that consistent.
"They were prelim finalists, grand finalists, premiers and now they sit top of the table.
"It is probably a test that we need to be fair. We need to see where we are at."
League commentator Peter Sterling said he had no doubts Souths are up to the challenge of being a force come finals time and the game against the Storm is a chance for the players to prove it to themselves.
"I am not concerned what I have seen in the last two weeks," Sterling said.
"I am more concerned about what I will see against the Storm.
"They are the kind of games you want going into finals football.
"If you are successful on the back of those, boy, you go into last month feeling really good about yourself."