Round 14 kicked off with the Storm taking on the reigning premiers, Sydney Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Storm were underdogs without skipper Cameron Smith or Cameron Munster.
The injury hit Roosters suffered a heart in mouth situation with Luke Keary being taken to hospital with suspected internal injuries but being released with just a broken rib. Mitch Aubusson was taken off the field with a suspected broken wrist.
The Storm also suffered with Suliasi Vunivalu breaking his jaw and Jahrome Hughes complaining of a groin strain.
This didn’t stop the Storm, who came out with a ferocity, with Hughes stepping up to lead the visitors around the park. Christian Welch had one of his best games ever, helping the Storm get on the board early after some hard hits. The Roosters handling in the first half wasn’t good and the Storm took advantage.
Ryan Papenhuyzen was strong at the back, with excellent positional play and drifting to either side in attack. The Storm and Roosters were gallant in defence but the Storm’s attack was on song, with the final score 24-6.
Friday nights game between the Warriors and Panthers at Central Coast Stadium was marred by eight men being booted from the stadium for alleged racial vilification against the Panthers Brent Naden.
The Panthers were on the board first by none other than Naden over in the corner. Api Koroisau extended the lead after slipping through some lazy defence. Dylan Edwards was next in off a Josh Mansour kick.
The Warriors showed some grit in defence, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck going over from a cross-field kick just before halftime. In the end, the second half was gritty and the Panthers got up over the Warriors, 18-12.
The Dragons got up on Friday night for Coach Paul McGregor’s last game. He decided to leave his beloved Dragons after issues with the implementation of a selection committee.
McGregor’s side showed grit for probably the first time this season, getting up over a fast finishing Eels at Bankwest Stadium.
St George-Illawarra got out to an early lead before the Eels showed up after half time. In the end, it was edge-of-your-seat drama, 14-12, just like McGregor’s time at the club.
Saturday afternoon footy began with the Titans taking on Cronulla Sharks at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
The big moment from this game was the send off of 250 gamer Kevin Proctor with allegations of biting Shaun Johnson. The Titans got on the board first, but the Sharks were way too good, winning 30-18.
Queensland Country Bank Stadium hosted a 27 degree match between the Cowboys and the Rabbitohs in the second game of the Saturday ticket.
Michael Morgan had a much better game for the home side this week after returning from injury last week. It was try for try but Kyle Feldt’s missed conversions ended up being their Achilles’s heel and they lost 31-30.
The Broncos travelled to Canberra to play the Raiders at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
The visitors looked strong in the first 20 minutes but went downhill after that. They were even leading 8-6 at half time. Raiders coach Ricky Stuart must have put the cannon up his players because they came out after half time firing. Some great work from George Williams and Nick Cotric to blow out the lead 36-8.
Sunday afternoon footy began at McDonald Jones Stadium with the Knights hosting the Sea Eagles.
The Sea Eagles went into the game with no Tommy Turbo, Dylan Walker, Addin Fonua-Blake, Marty Taupau or Jorge Taufua.
They lacked fire power but fought bravely. Kalyn Ponga was on for the Knights, shifting around the field and causing problems for the Manly side.
The visitors got out to an early 12-0 lead, but the Knights showed something great in attack and levelled the score. They piled on 20 unanswered points in the second half, but Jack Gosiewski got a great grubber from Daly Cherry-Evans for Manly to take the lead again, 24-20. Enari Tuala nabbed his second of the game, with Ponga converting the try and taking the win for the Knights 26-24.
Bankwest Stadium hosted its second game of the round where the Bulldogs took on the Wests Tigers.
Benji Marshall was selected for the Tigers, who definitely noticed the absence of injured hooker, Harry Grant. The Tigers got out to a good lead in the first 20 minutes, leading 22-6 but then seemed to slip away and allow the Dogs back into the game.
Aiden Tolman was awarded an controversial try to level the scores late into the second half. The game went set for set for over 15 minutes before the Bulldogs went over again. It was hard work for BJ Leilua to regain the lead after Moses Mbye kicked the conversion to get back in it. Luke Brooks was the saviour for the Wests Tigers, kicking the field goal to win 29-28.