The Melbourne Storm have come from behind to defeat the Newcastle Knights 23-10 in front of a 26,822 crowd at Hunter Stadium.
A dominant second half performance from the Storm spearheaded by superstars Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk got the Storm over the line after a poor start to the match from the defending premiers.
A lopsided penalty count coupled by a flat performance by the Storm saw the Knights dominate the opening half hour of the match but it was to little avail until the 25th minute when BJ Leilua finally cracked the Storm defence to score on the back-to-back penalties. Kurt Gidley failed to convert the try.
A perfectly waited Jarrod Mullen chip kick to a racing Akuilla Uate who scored in the 32nd minute extended the Knights' lead. Gidley was unsuccessful with the boot again.
The Storm looked flat when they received their first penalty only a minute and a half from half-time, but their powerhouse utulity Jordan McLean was unstoppable close to the line and scored under the posts. Cameron Smith missed the conversion, keeping the Storm four-points behind at the break.
An early penalty in the second 40 placed the Storm right on the attack and once again they converted it into points this time through Smith who added the extras to give his side the lead for the first time in the match.
Gidley leveled the score in the 55th minutes after the Knights receive a penalty from right in front.
Some brilliance from Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater handed the lead back to the Storm in the 64th minute with Slater scoring of a pin-point Cronk chip-bomb.
A mistake from Robbie Rochow saw the Knights on the attack in the 71st minute, and Cronk wasted no time, kicking a field goal on only the third tackle.
Bryan Norrie celebrated his 150th match with a try in the final minute of the game after Smith put him through a gap. Smith added the extras.
The Storm will host the Eels, next weekend for an opportunity to guarantee their spot in the top fur while the Knights will head to Townsville to take on the North Queensland Cowboys.