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NRL match review: Melbourne Storm 30 New Zealand Warriors 14

Scoreboard

Melbourne Storm 30
Tries: Marika Koroibete 2, Mahe Fonua, Will Chambers, Tim Glasby
Goals: Smith (5/5 conversions)

New Zealand Warriors 14
Tries: Manu Vatuvei, Nathan Friend, Sebastine Ikahihifo
Goals: Johnson (1/3 conversions)

Match Review

The Melbourne Storm have sent a warning to rival NRL teams that they are still a force in the competition by beating the New Zealand Warriors 30-14 at AAMI park in front of 18,179 fans on Monday night.

A worrying sign for both teams was their lack of ability to hold the football, with the home side completing 65% of their sets while the visitors completed 66%.

The high error rate meant both sides had great opportunities to score points, but it was the Storm who consistently took the chances presented.

The rot started early for the Warriors, when in the 6th minute an opportunity to open the scoring went begging when a Shaun Johnson pass found the sideline instead of winger Jonathon Wright.

The Storm then found their own costly errors, when both Billy Slater and Blake Green lost possession in good field position, the later looking destined to score a try. However, the home side made amends for their errors in the 20th minute of play when a Will Chambers offload found the grass, only for Mahe Fonua to pick up the loose ball, beat some lazy defence and touch down for a converted try.

The Warriors looked set to reply at the half hour mark when Johnson stepped through a hole only for Slater to ankle tap the New Zealand halfback, who lost the ball as he went down.

And the mistake cost the travelling side dearly, when a minute after, Marika Koroibete pushed his way through Wright and past covering defenders to score and give the Melbourne side a 12-nil advantage.

The New Zealand side got themselves on the board in the 37th minute of the game, when Manu Vatuvei got on the back of a sweeping backline movement, before using brute strength to get the ball down under pressure from a number of defenders. Johnson couldn’t convert from outwide, the 12-4 scoreline remaining till the break.

In the 46th minute of the game the Storm extended their lead again, when Cooper Cronk chipped for Slater, who passed back to Cronk. The Melbourne half basketball passed the ball over his head where Kevin Proctor collected the spoils, passed on to Fonua, who in turn offloaded to Chambers to score a wonderful try and an 18-4 lead.

Nathan Friend got the Warriors back in to the contest twelve minutes later when he crashed over from dummy half to close the gap to just eight points.

However the comeback didn’t last long, when Koroibete made a bust from his own try line, before being pulled down by Johnson just 15 metres out from the goal line at the far end.  With the Warriors struggling to recover, interchange forward Tim Glasby was able to force his way over. Cameron Smith converted to push the lead back to 14 points.

Once again the Warriors hit back however, when a Chad Townsend kick deflected kindly for Sebastine Ikahihifo to score. Johnson failed to convert to have the game poised at 24-14 with 14 minutes to play.

The Storm however weren’t going to allow their visitors back in to the game, and put the game to bed in the 71st minute when Koroibete scored his second courtesy of a Melbourne backline sweep, with Smith converting for the final points of the game, the home side claiming a 30-14 win.

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