Brendan Wood reviews the Melbourne Storm’s strong 28-8 win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to kick off Indigenous Round.
Melbourne Storm 28
Tries: Cameron Munster (7, 56), Chris Lewis (32), Xavier Coates (43), Kenny Bromwich (66)
Goals: Nick Meaney (8, 33, 44, 57)
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 8
Tries: Jorge Taufua (38), Christian Tuipulotu (68)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Welcoming Indigenous Round in Melbourne, the Storm got away to a fast start. Off the back of a penalty they had pressure on Manly early. They looked to have landed a quick strike when Felise Kaufusi cleaned up the scraps from a Munster kick and dived over. However, the bunker reviewed and found Kaufusi put his foot into touch to overturn the decision.
Despite being let off the hook, Manly couldn’t take advantage and gave away another penalty, this time for an obstruction. Just moments later, the Storm had the first try. Cameron Munster threw a dummy and sliced through Manly’s defence to open the scoring.
In response, Manly found some starch in defence and won some six again calls in the ruck. Just as the visitors looked to be setting up a solid attacking set, Haumole Olakau’atu produced an unforced error to deny them an opportunity to strike back.
With the Storm back on the attack, they opened up Manly again when Nick Meaney broke the line. Off the back of the long run from Meaney, the Storm turned up the heat. They had several repeat sets but the sturdy defensive effort from Manly turned them away.
The following 10 minutes saw both sides wrestling to gain the ascendency. A linebreak from Tui Kamikamica finally ended the solid run of defence. With the momentum swing, the Storm landed another blow. After Cameron Munster forced a repeat set, Brandon Smith and Jahrome Hughes combined and put Chris Lewis through a gap to score.
As they edged closer the break, Manly upped the anti in defence again and forced a poor kick from the Storm. With one last chance, Manly moved the ball left and they found an overlap. Reuben Garrick delivered a pass to Jorge Taufua who scored in the corner to give Manly a positive at halftime.
HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 12 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 4Embed from Getty Images
With Manly trailing by eight, they started the second half with positive intent. Unfortunately it didn’t equate to points, and instead they turned the ball over cheaply with a loose offload. With an early opportunity to attack, Cameron Munster kicked for Xavier Coates, who rose above the pack and came down with the ball in the in-goal for a try.
Cameron Munster continued to terrorise Manly. He got a one-on-one strip to put the Storm back on the attack. Just as it looked like Manly had fended off another onslaught, Munster stole the ball again for the second one-on-one strip in five minutes. This time he did it all himself as he pushed away from a tackle and scored to put the Storm well clear with a 20 point lead.
After falling behind in the game, Manly looked demoralised and struggled gaining metres. They were also ill-disciplined without the ball as they gave away back-to-back penalties to keep the Storm entrenched on their line.
With Munster looking dangerous again, he moved the ball left to Nick Meaney, who threw a short ball to a charging Kenny Bromwich who scored the Storm’s fifth try. To Manly’s credit, they kept putting in an effort. They produced a one-one-one strip of their own and found their second try. Kieran Foran threw a cut-out pass to Christian Tuipulotu who dived over for a try inside the corner post.
With time winding down, the Storm looked to heap more pain on the visitors. Cameron Munster kept the foot on the accelerator as he hunted for his third try. In the process, the Storm turned the screws by controlling possession and kept Manly at bay with long kicks and solid kick-chase. With no further scoring in the game, the Storm recorded a strong 20 point victory at home to get back in the winner’s circle.
FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 28 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 8
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm), 2 pts – Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm), 1 pt – Nick Meaney (Melbourne Storm)
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