The Storm beat the Tigers for the first time in two years.
The Tigers and Storm met in Melbourne for this Round 10 clash. After two close wins to the Tigers in this fixture last year, Melbourne were determined to beat the Tigers for the first time since the 2017 season. Ryan Papenhuyzens’ first game at fullback for the Storm added further to the storyline due to Papenhuyzen being a Tigers junior.
The game started slow with multiple penalties and both teams turned this into points with the first four scoring plays all being penalty goals, leaving the score line at 6-2 after 25 minutes. Former Tiger Papenhuyzen scored the first try of the match after breaking through the middle of the Tigers defence to go 60 metres to score. The Tigers responded with a try to Josh Aloiai in the corner to give the Tigers the lead heading into halftime.
The Tigers started the second half as well as they possibly could have, scoring just two minutes after the break as Luke Brooks crossed for a try to take the lead to 16-8 after the missed conversion. The Storm responded as Felise Kaufusi crossed in the 52nd minute and with a Smith conversion saw Melbourne bring it back to 16-14 with 30 minutes left to play. New Zealand centre Esan Marsters crossed only three minutes later to give the Tigers a 22-14 lead. The Tigers managed to hold the lead and looked like the team most likely to win this one, however when Marion Seve crossed in the 69th minute it set up a thriller for the last 10 minutes of the game, with the score at 22-20. The joint venture club were seeing off any Melbourne attack and were the better side on the day until Will Chambers crossed in the 77th minute which inevitably gave Melbourne the win here in a thriller.
The Wests Tigers missed the chance to go to a 6-4 record but are now 5-5 with last night’s loss and The Melbourne Storm moved to the top of the live ladder at 8-2.
Ryan Papenhuyzen a star of the future?
Papenhuyzen – who made his run-on debut at fullback – looked right at home as the 20-year old accumulated 247 run metres, two line breaks and seven tackle breaks. He has showed that he could be a very good player in the future and after last night’s performance; he could make it for Hughes to slot back in at fullback when he returns from injury.
Tigers not able to close out tight games
This is the Tigers second loss by two points or less this season, both games in which they should’ve won. The Tigers need to fix this if they want to be a finals side as chances missed like this may come to haunt them at the end of the season.
Dale Finucane in blue?
Lock forward Dale Finucane put in another fine performance last year as the New South Wales hopeful ran for 167 metres and made 42 tackles in a workhorse effort. Will his performances this season lead the Storm forward to making his Origin debut for NSW?
The value of the two points
Both teams decided to take the two points early on in the contest with Marsters kicking three penalty goals and Smith kicking one penalty goal inside the first 25 minutes. However, later in the game when the scoreline was 22-14 the Tigers declined a shot on goal and instead tapped the ball only 10 metres out from the Storm tryline. The Tigers didn’t score of the play and 15 minutes later the Storm ended up winning by only two points, a missed chance to potentially send the game deeper.
Melbourne Storm 24
Tries: Ryan Papenhuyzen, Felise Kaufusi, Marion Seve, Will Chambers
Goals: Cameron Smith 4/5
Drop Goals: n/a
Wests Tigers 22
Tries: Josh Aloiai, Luke Brooks, Esan Marsters
Goals: Esan Marsters 5/6
Drop Goals: n/a
Melbourne Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Christian Welch 16. Tui Kamikamica 19. Joe Stimson.
Wests Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye (c) 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Robert Jennings 4. Esan Marsters 5. Corey Thompson 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Chris McQueen 13. Matthew Eisenhuth Interchange: 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Josh Aloiai 17. Michael Chee-Kam