Andrew Pelechaty reviews the always heavily anticipated clash between the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Jahrome Hughes (49), Ryan Papenhuyzen (57), Harry Grant (67)
Goals: Ryan Papenhuyzen (24 – pen, 40 – pen, 50, 69)
Tries: Matt Ikuvalu (79)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Harry Grant (Melbourne Storm)
2 pts – Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne Storm)
1 pt – Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne Storm)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
There was early drama from the Storm, with star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen an early casualty, colliding with Josh Morris while trying to stop a try. Though Papenhuyzen stopped the try, he was taken off with a HIA. The good news: he passed his HIA.
Victor Radley was sin-binned after 13 minutes following a high tackle on Cameron Munster.
While the Storm were unable to exploit the one-man advantage, Papenhuyzen came back just in time to break the 0-0 deadlock after 24 minutes with a penalty goal.
Christian Welch nearly scored with five minutes until halftime, but fell short of the line and lost the ball.
The Storm got another penalty shot while peering the Roosters’ line, with Papenhuyzen giving them a 4-0 halftime lad.
While two penalty goals doesn’t sound like a lot, it was shaping up another Melbourne vs Easts classic, with some brutal defence and an almost finals-like intensity making up for a lack of points. Both teams lost a lot of ball due to the defensive pressure, with 17 errors (11 to the Roosters and six to Melbourne) and 30 missed tackles (20 to the Roosters and 10 to Melbourne).
Despite the errors, the Roosters would have been happy keeping Melbourne tryless despite the Storm’s 78% possession, especially as the Storm had scored nearly 100 points in the last fortnight.
HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 4 Sydney Roosters 0Embed from Getty Images
The rhythm of the first half half continued in the second half, with more brutal defence causing some errors, but the Strom finally broke through 10 minutes into second half, with Jahrome Hughes scoring off a lovely Harry Grant ball, complete with a golf-inspired post-try celebration. Papenhuyzen converted to give the Storm a 10-0 lead. With points at a premium, it could have been a a decisive lead.
Papenhuyzen scored to extend Melbourne’s lead to 14-0 after 57 minutes, after some great lead-up work from Grant.
The Roosters copped another blow, losing Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (shoulder) and Siosiua Taukeiaho (ribs).
Grant then capped a fabulous night, scoring a try of his own with 12 minutes left, darting from dummy-half. Papenhuyzen converted to give the Storm an impenetrable 20-0 lead. Could Grant fill the Sideshow Bob-sized shoes of Cameron Smith?
Joseph Manu nearly scored for the Roosters, but was ruled off-side from the kick chase. The Roosters’ Captain’s Challenge was unsuccessful.
The Roosters kept trying desperately to break their duck, with the Storm’s tenacious defence held firm.
The Roosters finally scored in the last minute, with unmarked Matt Ikuvalu catching a lovely James Tedesco kick.
While it wasn’t the closest game between the modern rivals, there was plenty of bruising defence and attractive tries once the Storm kicked into gear. As for the Roosters, there’s some worrying signs after they lost to Souths in round three and only overran the Sharks in the final 20 minutes last week, along with some injury concerns; they’ll be desperate to atone in their traditional ANZAC Day game against St George Illawarra. Meanwhile, the Storm have their ANZAC Day rivalry against the unpredictable Warriors to look forward to. While it’s only round six, the Storm look like going deep into September again.
FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 20 Sydney Roosters 4
Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm) – passed HIA
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters) – shoulder
Siosiua Taukeiaho (Roosters) – ribs
Match Review Committee
Victor Radley (Roosters) – Grade 2 Careless High Tackle – Early Plea 2 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 3 match ban.