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Rabbitohs out to break NRL record hoodoo

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/05/2017 Steve Zemek

South Sydney must buck the second biggest hoodoo in Australian first grade rugby league history if they're to upset Melbourne and keep their NRL season from slipping off the rails in Perth on Sunday.

The Rabbitohs head into the match with an unenviable record against the Storm, having won just four of their 26 clashes since the Victorian-based side were admitted into the competition in 1998.

According to Fox Sports Stats, the Rabbitohs' winning rate of 15.4 per cent is the second worst of any team in 110 years of premiership competition, based on sides who have faced off more than 25 times.

Only the defunct University - who folded in 1937 because of their inability to be competitive - hold a worse record, having lost 30 and drawn one against the Rabbitohs.

And while the Storm and coach Craig Bellamy were breathing fire following their last-gasp 38-36 loss to the Titans last week, the Rabbitohs are out to balance the scales of history.

"We've obviously got a clinical team that we're playing and they do the little things well," Souths coach Michael Maguire said.

"I thought we played some good footy last Friday. We understand the opponent we're playing, we've done our work and now it's about going out and doing it together."

The Storm could welcome back prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona from a broken hand while Storm coach Craig Bellamy is considering blooding hooker Brandon Smith, who was included in the New Zealand Test squad a fortnight ago.

Bellamy has promised changes after his side conceded 30 points or more for just the third time in three seasons against the Titans last week.

"They're all important but it's probably more important after last week," Bellamy said of the match.

"Not so much the result but about the way we went about things last week ... We don't want to leave it too many weeks or else bad habits become usual habits.

"We were really disappointed with our defence last week. We had a couple of big moments in the game we didn't handle it so well. We've been reasonably consistent this year, but they were really poor."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Melbourne has not lost consecutive matches since the middle of 2015, a streak of 47 matches.

* A Storm win here will see Billy Slater become just the seventh player to win 200 NRL matches.

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