Melbourne Storm victorious as life without Cameron Smith begins

The Melbourne Storm have kick-started life without Cameron Smith on a victorious note, staving off the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a 26-18 win at AAMI Park.

The Storm’s season-opening win was set up by a first-half onslaught, in which the hosts ran in four tries to take a 22-0 lead into the break.

Star five-eighth Cody Walker spearheaded a second-half Rabbitohs fightback, firstly with a brilliant cut-out ball to put Alex Johnston over in the left corner and secondly with a ball that led to a Latrell Mitchell try on the same edge.

But Melbourne held firm to ensure their premiership defence would begin in faultless fashion.

The Storm haven’t lost in Round One since 2001, meaning they are yet to lose a season-opener since Craig Bellamy took the reins in 2003.