MELBOURNE - Melbourne showcased their premiership credentials with an emphatic 24-6 win over South Sydney in their NRL qualifying final, which skipper Cameron Smith described as one of their best performances of the season.
After a five-game losing streak and then a patchy run of four wins to lead into the AAMI Park clash, the Storm saved their best for a crunch match which earned them a week's break and a preliminary final berth.
The Rabbitohs must now put the result behind them and prepare to take on the winner of the match between Canberra and Cronulla in Sydney next week.
While Melbourne did it in style, the Rabbitohs looked caught in a spotlight, shell-shocked by the occasion after a five-year absence from finals football.
The Storm, led by star fullback Billy Slater, effectively had the game won by half-time as they led 18-0 with Slater collecting a try and helping set up two others.