The Melbourne Storm has beaten the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium with a convincing 44-12 score to secure back-to-back Minor Premierships.
CRAFTY CROFT HAT-TRICK
The Storm made a decision to rest star half back Cooper Cronk before their clash with the Knight. The choice became obvious to go with their future half in Brodie Croft and with the rest of the side at full strength it was he who delivered a man-of-the-match performance to steer the Storm side to a conclusive victory away. Croft was deadly with both his individual brilliance and pass selection while also being able to support team mates throughout the game. The young half set the standard early forcing repeat sets with his kicks, the first four pointer of his three came from Cameron Smith rushing out of the ruck to pass to Croft 10 metres out from the line for him to throw a dummy and slide through the Knights defence. The second try that came to the number seven was just after halftime with another Smith to Croft combination having the skipper use his vision and setup the halfback to cut back through the middle and use his speed to sprint away for a double. The hat-trick came by supporting a Jesse Bromwich line break in the 65th minute to step and score, but it wasn’t only just his three tries it was backed up with 2 try assists completing another stellar game by the up and coming Storm sensation.
STORM SECURE MINOR PREMIERSHIP
The Melbourne Storm have completed a phenomenal regular season with just two rounds left they have snatch the Minor Premiership after downing last place Knights. The Storm side have backed their incredible runner-up season in 2016 with again being able to retain the J.J.Giltinan Shield for back-to-back years showing how impressive their club has been in the last 2 years in the competition. Having lost the grand final last season they are looking even better this time around for a chance to grab the premiership with their legendary halfback Cooper Cronk leaving.
NEWCASTLES NEXT GENERATION
Having been another underwhelming season for the Newcastle Knights there has been a resurgence of talent that has come through into the first grade squad. The likes of their young forwards have been impressive with the limited games they have had with the Saifiti brothers only in their second year still showing improvement as well as new prospects in prop Josh King and Lachlan Fitzgibbon who has been on fire while putting on a try and try assist during the Storm match. The future for the club looks bright with both a mix of experience and youth to rebuild to the glory days that the novocastrians all remember.
THREE YEARS OF WOODEN SPOONS
The Newcastle side is on track to a third straight wooden spoon, finishing last in the two previous seasons the Knights of recent years has been woeful. They have shown plenty of heart but have not been up to the standard of other sides in the competition having won 4 straight at the beginning of 2015 it looked like the club was going to reach higher accolades before it all came crashing down. The Knights since that time have only won 10 games but to their credit have begun to find the passion and determination to win in the back end of the 2017 season. They will no doubt be looking to break the shackles next year with their new roster.
Melbourne Storm 44 Tries: Scott, Finucane, Croft (3), Chambers, Vunivalu, Asofa-Solomona Goals: Smith 5/7, Finucane 1/1
Newcastle Knights 12
Tries: Fitzgibbon, Wardle
Goals: Hodkinson 2/2