300 not out
Melbourne Storm ground out their 300th NRL victory to move level with Brisbane Broncos at the top of the NRL ladder. It is a significant milestone for the club, but it wasn’t a memorable performance as a poor first period almost led to a third defeat in four at the hands of the Knights. They had enough to claw back a victory though, with a late Richie Kennar try snatching the two points.
Storm not at their best
It was far from a vintage performance from Melbourne Storm, however coach Craig Bellamy will be delighted that his side sit at the top of the ladder with the same record as Brisbane Broncos. Cameron Smith came up with a number of uncharacteristic errors as they struggled to get going, although they had enough in the tank to see off their opponents. There are still plenty of improvements to be made if the Storm are to challenge for a Premiership title but at the moment they are sitting at the right end of the ladder.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for Nathan Brown and his Newcastle Knights, as they led for the majority of the game, but with two first half injuries they didn’t have enough in the tank to see out the win. Sione Mata’utia and Danny Levi were forced off early in the contest, and although it didn’t seem to effect the Knights at the time, later on in the contest they struggled to compete with only 15 men. They didn’t look like a side who have only one competition point on the board, however they will need to start picking up points soon if they are to compete for a place in the top eight this season.
Was it the right decision to inter-change?
With the number of interchanges available to teams being decreased in 2016 we have seen forwards playing longer minutes, and as a result conserving energy to see out the game. This has also effected teams who lose players to injury during a game, as we saw today for Newcastle. With two first half injuries they were down to a bench of two players and last season would have had two more interchanges to manage the situation. It is early days in 2016, but was it the right decision to decrease the number of interchanges available to teams?
IN THE SHEDS
- Sione Mata’utia – concussion
- Danny Levi – back
Melbourne Storm 18
Tries: Cronk (18,54) Kennar (73)
Goals: Smith 3/4
Newcastle Knights 14
Tries: Saifiti (13), K. Sims (58)
Goals: Hodkinson 3/3