Brad Inger reviews the Round 7 annual ANZAC clash between the Storm and Warriors at AAMI Park; here’s how the match went.
Melbourne Storm 70
Tries: Jahrome Hughes 8, 72, Xavier Coates 22, 60, 66, 68, Nick Meaney 26, 50, Ryan Papenhuyzen 47, 52, Harry Grant 58, Jesse Bromwich 77, Justin Olam 78
Goals: Ryan Papenhuyzen 27, 40, 41, 48, 51, 59, 67, Nick Meaney 74, 78
New Zealand Warriors 10
Tries: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 12, Wayde Egan 29
Goals: Reece Walsh 30
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
After a fantastic prematch ceremony, both sides showed they were here to perform.
The Warriors showed some spark with an early run from Wayde Egan but could not convert it into points.
Melbourne returned the favour with a strong set of their own before the clubs started to trade sets, with neither gaining an advantage.
The New Zealand side surged up the field after earning a penalty and looked sure to score when Reece Walsh fired a cut-out pass to Ed Kosi, but the young winger dropped the pass, and Ryan Papenhuyzen scooped it up before getting it away to Jahrome Hughes who ran 60 metres to score the first try of the night.
The home side looked ready to pounce again on the next set, breaking the visitor’s defensive line apart before being dragged down by the scrambling defenders.
After surviving that scare, the Warriors found themselves back in the Storm half and then over the try-line when Chanel Harris-Tavita threw a skip pass out to Dallin Watene-Zeleaniak to see the scores levelled.
The match settled back into an even contest with both sides trading errors for several sets before a Hughes grubber was not cleaned up by Kosi and then dived on by Xavier Coates for the Storms second try of the evening.
Melbourne added to their lead a few minutes later when Nick Meaney latched onto a Shaun Johnson pass to run 70 metres to score.
Everything appeared to be going the Storms way, and the Warriors needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat if they wanted to get themselves back into the contest, and that came from a Johnson kick on the second tackle that had a fortunate bounce that found its way to Egan for a much-needed try for the visitors.
With halftime edging closer, we did see too much more happen in the first half; the Warriors gave away a few silly penalties, which gave the Storm a chance to end the half with a penalty goal pushing their lead out to six as both sides entered the sheds.
HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 16 New Zealand Warriors 10Embed from Getty Images
Melbourne started the second half strong, surging up the field before the Warriors forced an error on the last tackle.
The Storm challenged the call, and the bunker ruled in their favour, giving them a penalty for a Warriors player tackling Harry Grant before he grabbed the ball. Papenhuyzen pushed the lead out to eight.
After a few errors riddled sets, the Storm were deep in the visitor’s half on the fifth tackle when the ball ended up in the unlikely hands of Nelson Asofa-Solomona. He put up a kick that found its way into the hands of Papenhuyzen for another try.
The play was stopped for a brief spell after a scary incident where Watene-Zeleaniak was knocked unconscious when his head collided with Asofa-Solomona’s knee, which saw the veteran winger stretchered off the field.
The New Zealand side did themselves no favours when the game restarted when Walsh’s kick-off sailed over the dead-ball line, gifting the Storm a penalty at halfway.
Moments later, the Storm were across the line again when Melbourne targeted the Warrior’s reshuffled left edge, and Meaney crossed for his second try of the night.
This saw the floodgates open up as the Storm continued to punish the New Zealand side, scoring back-to-back tries via Papenhuyzen and Grant before twisting the knife further with three more tries to Coates in quick succession, who would make the most out of Kosi having a bad night.
The visitors were getting frustrated and started getting a bit niggly, with Matt Lodge getting penalised and put on report before the home side added more points to their tally.
The Storm set a new record for most points scored by Melbourne at AAMI Park when Hughes, Jesse Bromwich and Justin Olam and scored in the final ten minutes to end the match with a massive sixty-point win, handing the Warriors the biggest defeat in their history.
FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 70 New Zealand Warriors 10
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm), 2 pts – Xavier Coates (Storm), 1 pt – Cameron Munster (Storm)
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