Melbourne held off a fast-finishing Sea Eagles to take the chocolates at Lottoland 30-26, boosted by the returns of Cameron Munster and Jesse Bromwich.
Slippery Suliasi gets on the board again
The loss of Marika Koroibete hasn’t hurt the Storm as much as it was expected to due to the brutal form of Suliasi Vunivalu and to a lesser extent fellow wingman Josh Addo-Carr. Vunivalu went across the stripe twice and JAC once in a strong performance from Melbourne’s duo on the flanks. Manly’s backs had a horror time in defense as Melbourne’s back five all together broke twelve tackles, all class as per usual.
Kickoffs cost the Sea Eagles
Dylan Walker put the very first kickoff of the game out on the full, and it would lead to Vunivalu’s first of the night. Mistakes happen, and you would think Walker would take the extra care to not do it again. Thirty minutes later Walker did it again, and again it led to a Melbourne try from the field position. A game that was decided by ten points could have seen Manly take it by six if not for two rare errors from the Manly placekicker.
Bellamy does a Des
The Bulldogs have experimented, both 2017 and 2015, with playing a utility on the bench to sub on in the halves. Craig Bellamy did that with Ryley Jacks and Cameron Munster to success against the Eagles. Munster eased in to the game with three offloads in an exciting performance on the return from injury. Jacks too was in turn able to play more freely while he was on the field, and neither of the small men were able to be worn out on defense. It’s interesting for a side as drilled as the Storm doing something so unorthodox, and it came off.
Tommy Turbo puts on the afterburners
Trent Barrett said in the press conference you can’t win games with effort, but you can’t criticise how well some of the Sea Eagles played in a tight loss – led by their young gun Tom Trbojevic out at the back. Two linebreaks and a further three linebreak assists as well as 3 tackle breaks, an offload and a try assist thrust him firmly in to State of Origin contention. The Eagles should look to lock him down on a long term deal so later on they can build the team around their young gun fullback – perhaps shoot for another “Sea Eagle For Life” deal.
Melbourne Storm 30
Tries: Sulesi Vunivalu 2, Felise Kaufusi 2, Young Tonumaipea, Josh Addo-Carr
Goals: Cameron Smith 3
Manly Sea Eagles 26
Tries: Frank Winterstein, Jorge Taufua, Brian Kelly, Jake Trbojevic, Brenton Lawrence
Goals: Dylan Walker 3