Wind and rain in Melbourne tonight could not stop an exciting game going down to the wire at Olympic Park where the Storm and the Warriors fought it out for 90 minutes on a soggy field, to end up at a 14 all scoreline.
The Melbourne Storm side had the advantage of the strong wind at their backs for the first forty minutes of the match, and used it well. Following an early penalty goal to the visitors, the Storm with their patient style of football, knocked up two well presented tries in the half to go to the break, 10-6 up on the Warriors.
Two injuries for the Storm, including a nasty concussion for Quinn from an accidental knee, meant they had to play the 2nd half with only a 2 man bench.
Unfortunately for the visiting side, the wind swung around to give them no advantage at all in the 2nd half. An early try to the Storm had the signs looking ominous for the Warriors. However true to their usual 2nd half comebacks of late, they fought back strongly from their 14-6 deficit to tie up the game with 15 minutes to go.
Goal kicking proved to be pretty stuff for both teams in not so favourable conditions.
Brett Finch in his debut for the Storm, certainly added another dimension to the side, and looked to be comfortable in his new role.
A missed field goal attempt by Cronk right on full time meant that for the second week in a row, the Warriors were heading for Golden Point.
After 10 minutes of extra time, neither side could break the deadlock, resulting in the first draw in the 2009 NRL season, and 1 point apiece for the two very tired sides.
Match Details Melbourne Storm 14 drew with New Zealand Warriors 14 Round 7 - Saturday April 25th, 2009 5:30pm Venue: Olympic Park, Melbourne Referee: Tony Archer & Matt Cecchin Sideline: Adam Devcich & Paul Holland Video: Tim Mander Crowd: 15,200 Halftime: Storm 10-6 Melbourne Storm 14 Tries: Steve Turner, Billy Slater, Will Chambers Goals: Cameron Smith (1/3) New Zealand Warriors 14 Tries: Manu Vatuvei (2), Patrick Ah Van Goals: Denan Kemp (1/4) LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Brett Finch (Storm) 2 Points: Michael Luck (Warriors) 1 Point: Dallas Johnson (Storm) LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary STORM: 1. Billy Slater 2. Steve Turner 3. Will Chambers 4. Greg Inglis 5. Anthony Quinn 6. Brett Finch 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jeff Lima 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Adam Blair 11. Wairangi Koopu 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Dallas Johnson Interchange: 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 15. Kevin Proctor 16. Aiden Tolman 17. Brett White Reserves: 18. Matt Cross
WARRIORS: 1. Lance Hohaia 2. Denan Kemp 3. Simon Mannering 4. Jerome Ropati 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Joel Moon 7. Stacey Jones 8. Jesse Royal 9. Ian Henderson 10. Steve Price (c) 11. Ben Matulino 12. Jacob Lillyman 13. Micheal Luck (vc) Interchange: 14. Nathan Fien 15. Russell Packer 16. Sam Rapira 17. Patrick Ah Van; Reserves: 18. Lewis Brown
Change to the Warriors line-up has Jesse Royal starting with Sam Rapira moving to the bench.
And in not so secret news, Maloney makes way for Brett Finch into the Number 6 position for the Storm. White starts from the bench.
Wet conditions for tonight's game at Olympic Stadium.
1 min: Warriors kick off in very soggy conditions.
1 min: Koopu loses the ball against his old club early in the tackle count, allowing the visitors a nice attacking opportunity.
6 min: The Storm finally getting possession 40 metres out from their line following a kick by Moon out on the full.
10 min: Both teams settling into the match now. The rain is not letting up at all making things very slippery.
12 min: TRY Melbourne Storm The Storm set up play well 30 metres out from their line, following a penalty. A superb kick out to Turner on the wing sees him cross the line with ease. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 6-2
17 min: Hohaia manages to get the ball back into the field of play, cops an accidental knee to his head by Cronk.
18 min: TRY Melbourne Storm A mistake by Vatuvei allows the Storm the ball 15 metres out from their line. Finch instrumental in the attack, help Slater slide across the line. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 10-2
22 min: Henderson knocks on 30 metres out from the Storm line allowing the home side another round of attack.
28 min: Ball control pretty good considering the conditions. The rain seems to have eased for the moment. Proctor leaving the field for the Storm. Koopu back on after a minute's rest.
29 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors The Warriors finally have a great attacking opportunity 10 metres out from their line. Vatuvei knows only one way close to the line, and that's to barge over in the corner. Conversion attempt by Denan Kemp unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 10-6
30 min: White comes on for the Storm.
34 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Storm
37 min: Quinn tackled close to the Storm line. The Warriors players quick to call a serious injury. An accidental knee from Mannering. Jones dragged from underneath the injured Quinn. Trainers/doctors from both sides attending.
Play has stopped for quite a while as players keep warm. Quinn is stretchered off and straight to hospital.
37 min: Play resumes after a 5 minute stoppage for Quinn.
37 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Storm.
38 min: Try saving tackle on White by Lillyman hands possession to the visitors.
HALFTIME: The Storm had the wind favouring them in the first half and look to have the same advantage in the 2nd as the wind as swung around. The majority of possession favouring the Storm but the Warriors have managed to close the scoring.
41 min: Smith gets the 2nd half underway. The rain has stopped and so has the wind, for now.
43 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Nice organising by Finch has the ball quickly out wide allowing Chambers to cross the line untouched. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 14-6
45 min: Injury update - Proctor, high ankle sprain and unlikely to return. Quinn on his way to hospital heavily concussed. The Warriors ok on the injury front at this stage.
48 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Storm
50 min: Scrum to stop 10 metres out from their line.
53 min: Vatuvei stretches his legs after a break by Kemp from the Storm line. Slater stops the big fulla and the Storm spreads it wide as well. Play has opened up by both sides in the wet, good stuff.
55 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors After spreading the ball wide the big Warriors winger stretches his arm out and scores his 2nd of the evening. The ball hits the post from the conversion. Conversion attempt by Denan Kemp unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 14-10
60 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Warriors
62 min: GOAL LINE DROPOUT - Warriors
63 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors Back to back goal line dropouts prove to be a killer for the tiring Storm defenders. Nice run around play sets up the try for Ah Van. Conversion attempt by Kemp unsuccessful. 14 all
71 min: Warriors chant goes up at Olympic Park. Both teams starting to tire. The 2 man bench of the Storm could cost them.
76 min: Time running out for the two sides. Next to score will probably win. The two sides giving it their all.
78 min: NO GOAL - Field goal attempt unsuccessful by Cronk 45 metres out.
80 min: NO GOAL - Jones tries for the Warriors but misses. Extra time here we come.
81 min: Smith wins the toss and elects to kick. Luck elects to run into the wind.
82 min: Charge down by the Storm on Jones allows 6 more tackles to the Warriors.
83 min: Jones field goal from 20 metres out, hits the post and misses.
84 min: Cronk's turn and his kick falls short.
85 min: Penalty to the Storm 80 metres away from their goal line
Siren sounds, turn around.
87 min: Barnstorming run by Vatuvei ending in a knock on by Vatuvei. Replay shows a hand in it. Where's the video ref?
89 min: Penalty Warriors. Play resumes 40 metres out from their line.
90 min: Play on is called by Archer following a knock on by Jones. Lance Hohaia kicks a field goal. Video ref rules a knock on.
FULLTIME: A draw for the two sides after 90 minutes of tough footy. A bit hard on the players but an exciting game to watch.