The Tigers quick-fire start was put out by a strong defensive performance by the Storm, who came back from 14-0 down to win 22-14 at Leichardt Oval on Sunday.

Fast, inspiring start for the Tigers

There may have been a feeling of a new beginning, and that seemed to be the Tigers early motivation. The boys from Leichardt came out on point, with strong defence on Melbourne in the middle of the park, and an electrifying attack. Granted, Melbourne handed them most of the opportunities, but they made no mistake in converting them. Both Moses and Taylor scored tries off mistakes, and two penalties put them up 14-0. The Tigers forwards accounted for nearly double metres gained than Melbourne, and the score could have been 20-0 at the half if not for an obstruction to deny David Nofoaluma.

Logically however, they burned out and the class of Melbourne showed. Blair and Addo-Carr both scored tries from lacklustre defence, both over 80 metres as well, and failed to pick themselves back up after 40 minutes.

Melbourne suffer from costly errors again

Regardless of their fightback, Melbourne’s errors continued throughout the match, even more so than the Tigers. Brisbane was brilliant on forcing errors in round 3, and the Tigers simply had to play fast footy to irritate Melbourne. Early turnovers from Cronk, Welch and Jesse Bromwich gave the Tigers many attacking opportunities, and affectively made Melbourne a mess in the first 35 minutes. The Tigers had a far better completion percentage, sitting at 80% compared to Melbourne’s dreadful 66%. A quick play at the end of the first half, off a no-try called on Nofoaluma meant the scores were a more respectable 14-6. Bellamy’s message would have been clear, yet Melbourne still coughed the ball up too much in the second half. Something that should have been resolved after the Broncos game, but that was not the case.

The ‘Big 3’ still got it

The burden of Slater’s injury the last two years was not as bad as first expected thanks to the rise of Cameron Munster, but it could be better if both men were in the starting 13 right now. Muster’s jaw injury means we will have to wait a little longer to see the Storm at their absolute best, but Slater’s return has already given the team a huge boost. The forwards were arguably the main contributors to Melbourne’s rough start, and the veterans of the team had to step up. The work of Melbourne’s ‘Big 3’ was brilliant in the second half, starting off with a great run from Cooper Cronk off their first attacking set. A 40/20 from Cameron Smith later on, and it only took the Storm two tackles to score with all three men combining to set up Young Tonumaipea. From that the control was in the hands of the Storm, and the class of all three men was visible.

Addo-Carr the perfect replacement for Koroibete

The new recruit got a run at his former team, and made a huge impact. Addo-Carr has shown tremendous speed, specifically nearly chasing down James Roberts last week, and yesterday showed his talents at an even greater level. He had the second most running metres in round 4 with 218, and added 7 tackle busts. His early effort to break five tackles deep in his own half showed how hard he is to tackle, and his runaway try confirmed his tremendous pace. Addo-Carr finished with 11 tackles, and defensively looked solid. He looked comfortable competing for the ball up high as well as impeding the opposing teams passing lane, which will please Coach Bellamy.

Melbourne seem to be the masters at replacing key players with ‘no names’, who in turn become even better than expected. Replacing Koroibete in the off season was seen as a very hard task, but it seems the front office have found a brilliant runner of the ball who is a nightmare to tackle in Addo-Carr.

Final Score:

Storm 22
Tries: Asofa-Solomona (40m), Tonumaipea (49m), Blair (55m), Addo-Carr (65m)
Goals: Smith 3/4

Wests Tigers 14
Tries: Moses (11m), Taylor (27m)
Goals: Moses 3/4