Andrew Pelechaty reviews Melbourne’s win in Canberra, ending their three-game losing streak against the Raiders. Here’s how the game went.
|9th||Try Brenko Lee (Melbourne)||Melbourne 4-0|
|10th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne`6-0|
|22nd||Try Josh Papalii (Canberra)||Melbourne 6-4|
|23rd||Goal Jarrod Croker (Canberra)||Scores tied 6-6|
|27th||Bailey Simonsson (Canberra) – SIN BIN||Scores tied 6-6|
|28th||Try Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne)||Melbourne 10-6|
|29th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 12-6|
|53rd||Penalty Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 14-6|
|58th||Try Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne)||Melbourne 18-6|
|59th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 20-6|
|67th||Try Nick Cotric (Canberra)||Melbourne 20-10|
|79th||Try Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Canberra)||Melbourne 20-14|
Melbourne opened the scoring in the ninth minute after a rare mistake from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. Following a kick from Jahrome Hughes into the in-goal, Nicoll-Klokstad tried to guide it over the dead ball line, but mistimed it and could only watch as Brenko Lee swooped on the live ball.
Canberra dominated possession from there – despite both teams making regular errors (seven to Canberra and six to Melbourne) – and were rewarded in the 22nd minute when Josh Papalii crashed over from a Josh Hodgson short ball.
The Raiders had a double blow in the 27th minute: first Bailey Simonsson was sin-binned after “preventing” Josh Addo-Carr from scoring, though Simonsson was clearly going for the ball. It was arguably one of the worst calls of the season, adding to an already controversial year. While that was happening, Hodgson went off with a suspected torn ACL. He’s likely to be out for the rest of the season, a huge blow to Canberra’s finals hopes.
The Storm took advantage of Simonsson’s sin-binning, with Addo-Carr scoring off the next set.
The Storm ended an eventful and controversial first half with a 12-6 lead after Ryan Papenhuyzen’s late field goal attempt missed.
Melbourne went further ahead in the 53rd minute with a penalty goal after an obstruction call against Dunamis Lui.
Elliott Whitehead looked to have scored a few minutes later, but grounded the ball before the line and knocked on, bombing a desperately needed try for the Raiders. To rub salt in the wound, Melbourne then got a penalty for dissent.
Melbourne seemingly put the game to bed in the 58th minute when, with the Raiders pressing Melbourne’s line, Papenhuyzen picked up a George Williams grubber kick and ran 90 metres to score.
Canberra finally scored nine minutes later: a nice set of hands from right to left finding Nick Cotric and giving the Raiders some hope. Jarrod Croker missed the sideline conversion, keeping Melbourne’s lead at 10.
Canberra scored a late try through Nicoll-Klokstad to bridge the gap to six with 20 seconds left. They tried to manufacture a miracle finish from the kick-off, but it wasn’t to be. At least the Raiders kept fighting to the end; a brave performance considering the circumstances.
The win keeps Melbourne (7-2) in the top four (and brought up Cameron Smith’s 300th win), though Craig Bellamy won’t be happy with his team’s 12 errors. Canberra (5-4) stay in the eight for now, but have a short turnaround before a tough grand final replay against the Sydney Roosters next Thursday night.
Trailing 14-6 in the second half, Canberra were pressing the Storm’s line, desperate to score after having an Elliot Whitehead try taken off them for a knock on. Ryan Papenhuyzen picked up George Williams’ grubber kick and ran 90 metres untouched: a great individual display that gave Melbourne a 14-point lead following Cameron Smith’s conversion.
Canberra Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Michael Oldfield 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 15. Kai O’Donnell. Interchange: 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Siliva Havili 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Jordan Rapana.
Melbourne Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 20. Brenko Lee 3. Justin Olam 4. Paul Momirovski 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Darryn Schonig 21. Nicholas Hynes.