The Melbourne Storm has won 26-8 in a scrappy Friday night game at 1300SMILES Stadium against the North Queensland Cowboys who were hit early with injuries.
VUNIVALU DOUBLE CLAIMS RECORD
Melbourne Storm wingers in Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr both picked up two tries to get the win for their side. The Storm pair is sitting 2nd and 3rd on the top try scorers list with 15 tries to Vunivalu and 14 for Addo-Carr. The Fijian flyer Suliasi has now claimed his 11th double for his 40th NRL try and now holds the record for most tries by any player in their first two seasons. The spine of the storm produced a great shift to find the Fijian gathering in a well-placed grubber from Billy Slater to the corner for the winger to pounce and score, and like the first another smart kick in behind the Cowboys tiring defence from fullback Slater had Vunivalu crash over another brilliant double. The Melbourne winger only started his career after 7 rounds into the 2016 season and will for sure have more to tries to come.
INJURIES COST COWBOYS
The Cowboys had an unwanted hit to their starting side in the opening exchanges with both Captain Gavin Cooper and winger Antonio Winterstein going down injured in the opening 10 minutes. Having wanted to start the match in a high quality manner the home side was impacted with a tackle taking their skipper Gavin Cooper through an ankle injury for the rest of the game. Only minutes later the winger of the same left edge Antonio Winterstein limped off after being split by opposition winger Josh Addo-Carr for pace. This made the task for the Cowboys all too much in the end with the Storm taking advantage of that edges defence and running in four tries throughout the match.
PENALTY AND ERRORS GALORE
For a mouthwatering top 8 clash between the Storm and Cowboys the stage was set for a high quality performance by both sides but like true rugby league fashion the match ended the complete opposite. The Friday night blockbuster ended with 51 missed tackles and 16 penalties split between two top 8 sides of the competition. Both teams will be looking to play smarter, holding onto the ball was an issue for the sides with 24 errors collectively. The coaches should be slightly worried with only a month of football left in the regular season.
STORM SURGING TO MINOR PREMIERSHIP
The win to the Melbourne Storm against the North Queensland side has them currently sitting four points ahead of second place. The Storm after having lost the 2016 grand final are now compiling a season which could become their best, with back-to-back minor premierships and the form of Captain Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk all going to another level for what will be their last season together. The 2017 season could well and truly be Melbourne’s year with the rest of the competition looking the lesser coming into the final few rounds, in tandem with the side looking to farewell its outstanding club halfback Cronk with one last premiership.
Melbourne Storm 26 Tries: Addo-Carr (2), Chambers, Vunivalu (2)
Goals: Smith 3/4, Chambers 0/1
North Queensland Cowboys 8
Goals: Lowe 2/2