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2021 NRL Finals Week One, Storm 40 Sea Eagles 12 – Report

Andrew Pelechaty reviews Melbourne’s thumping qualifying final win over Manly Warringah on the Sunshine Coast. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Storm 40

Tries: Isaac Lumelume (2), Kenneath Bromwich (9), Christian Welch (13), Ryan Papenhuyzen (38, 44), Justin Olam (75).

Goals: Ryan Papenhuyzen (4, 14, 23 – pen, 40, 46, 60 – pen, 77).

Two-Point Field Goal: Ryan Papenhuyzen (79).

Sea Eagles 12

Tries: Jason Saab (30, 50).

Goals: Reuben Garrick (31, 51).

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne Storm)
2 pts – Christian Welch (Melbourne Storm)
1 pt – Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Both Melbourne and Manly Warringah entered this first finals game with a few questions: after a month or so of patchy form, could Melbourne rise when it mattered most?; and could Manly – regarded as a finals ‘smokey’ – convert their red hot run home to a bigger stage?

Melbourne emphatically answered those questions in the opening 15 minutes, leading 18-0 with tries to Isaac Lumelume (scoring off a Morgan Harper error), Kenneath Bromwich, and Christian Welch.

Harper had a try taken off him 13 minutes later after a line-ball forward pass/bat-on from Daly Cherry-Evans.

Manly finally got on the board with try to Jason Saab, but Ryan “The Fastest Mullet on the Planet” Papenhuyzen quickly answered to give Melbourne a 24-6 lead at oranges.

HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 24 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 6

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2nd Half

It didn’t take long for Melbourne to extend their lead, with Papenhuyzen scoring his second try (this time off a 35-metre swerving solo run) four minutes into the second half.

A slice of luck for Saab – cleaning up after Lumelume failed to recover a downtown kick from Reuben Garrick off a 20 metre restart – put Manly within three tries with 30 minutes left.

While the next 20 minutes were scoreless, the Storm never looked like relinquishing their lead, with a Justin Olam try in the 75th minute putting an exclamation mark on the win.

Having already kicked seven goals, Papenhuyzen kicked one of cheekiest/most audacious/arrogant two-point field goals on full-time as Melbourne hit 40, and extended their Sunshine Coast winning run.

The Storm now enjoy a week off before a home preliminary final somewhere in Queensland. Will Brandon “The Hectic Cheese” Smith recover after suffering a head knock and failing his HIA?

As for Manly, they’ll play the Sydney Roosters (after their dramatic elimination final win over the Gold Coast) next weekend. How will Manly rebound mentally after such a big loss, especially with the vital Tommy Turbo kept so quiet?

FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 40 Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 12

Injuries

to be advised

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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