Historic slump to settle true super coach debate
He is the Rabbits master who doubles as Bellamy's bunny.
Never has a rival coach dominated a man many suggest in rugby league's greatest coach.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has a sizeable mental and statistical hold over South Sydney's Bennett ahead of tonight's big match at AAMI Park.
It will prompt many to ask: Who is the real super coach?
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Bellamy's superiority comes as Souths struggle to digest having never beaten Melbourne in Melbourne over the Storm's entire 22-year existence.
That is 15 games, 15 losses for Souths.
Bellamy has recorded 25 wins from 35 games against Bennett - the most Melbourne's coach has recorded against any opponent.
And Bennett's 25 losses (a winning success rate of just 28.6 per cent) is the most defeats he has encountered against a rival coach.
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It's Bennett's worst record against any current coach and the fourth worst against any opposing coach in his 33-year coaching career - only behind Bill Anderson (0 from 2), Steve Price (0 from 4) and David Furner (2 from 8).
Bellamy has won the past six games against Bennett, whose last win against the Storm coach came back in 2016. Bellamy's record is made more remarkable given the sustained success Bennett has achieved.
The two have coached a combined 1295 games, winning 832, reaching 17 grand finals, winning 11.
Victoria's border has remained open during COVID-19 - and that is bad news for South Sydney. The Rabbitohs travel to Melbourne having to mentally and physically overcome the worst record against any opponent in rugby league.
In fact, Melbourne's overall success against Souths - 26 wins from 31 games - is the most dominant of any two competing teams in the NRL era.
An empty stadium tonight - devoid of Melbourne's passionate and noisy fans - may well assist Brisbane.
"Never," said South Sydney chief executive, Blake Solly. "We've never beaten them down there. We have had a couple of one-point losses down there, we have had some heartbreak in Melbourne."
Melbourne has won all eight games at AAMI Park and all seven played previously at Olympic Park. Not only has Melbourne won, the Storm have consistently whacked Souths, posting an average winning score of 34-10.
The Storm has won 11 of 15 games in Victoria by 14 points or more, six of those games actually being by more than 38 points. It is Melbourne's best win record against any NRL side.
"We are confident we can turn it around on Friday night," Solly said.
South Sydney's winning success rate over Melbourne (16.1 per cent) is the club's lowest against any current team. Over the 31 games, Melbourne outscore Souths by 27-13.
Rabbitohs star Cam Murray was unconcerned about the past and was only looking forward.
"We have been working on little combinations with key individuals and making sure we gel together and play well together," Murray said.
"It hasn't all fallen into place yet, it's only been two or three rounds but we are looking to improve every opportunity we get with our combinations, and as a team on the whole. Hopefully we will get better and better and hopefully we will click soon."
Souths have won just one game this season and start as $3 outsiders, according to the TAB. Melbourne has tightened from $1.45 into $1.40.
Originally published as Historic slump to settle true super coach debate