A error riddled match in Newcastle tonight resulted in Melbourne Storm remaining undefeated so far this season by beating the Newcastle Knights 22-12 in Newcastle, after being locked up at 12 all at the halftime break.
The game was certainly a stop/start affair with referee Steve Clark stamping his authority throughout the match coupled with unforced errors by the two teams. A short sharp rain shower early in the second half adding to the ball handling problems both sides seemed to be having.
Scoring starting early in the game with the Storm sensation, Israel Folau netting the first of his two tries in just the 6th minute of the match.
The Knights hit back with two tries of their own to Simpson and Abraham, with the weight of possession an advantage for the home side. Just before the break, King crossed the line for Melbourne.
The game tied up at the break, 12 all.
A try to former Knights player Anthony Quinn, almost from the kick off sent out danger signals however the second was not very exciting with both sides guilty of unforced errors, Slater constantly under pressure at the back of the Storm pack. The slippery conditions adding to the problems both sides had in retaining their possession.
3 minutes from fulltime the Storm finally sealed the game when Folau crossed over for his second try of the match.
Melbourne go home with the points from the match however the victory was far from the convincing win we have become accustomed to from the Storm pack, with Newcastle pushing them all the way. The return of Buderus a definite bonus for the home side.
Newcastle Knights (12) Tries: Steve Simpson, Daniel Abraham Goals: Kurt Gidley (2/2) Melbourne Storm (22) Tries: Israel Folau (2), Matt King, Anthony Quinn Field Goals: Cooper Cronk (0/1) Goals: Cameron Smith (3/4)
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium Referee: Steve Clark
League Unlimited Live Commentary
Two very focused sides take the field in Newcastle. Andrew Johns out of the game with a neck injury obtained during a training session.
Apart from the Johns injury, the teams are as named. Expect a great battle between Buderus returning for Newcastle, and the in form hooker, Smith for the Storm.
1 min: Kick off by the Knights gets the game underway
5 min: TRY Melbourne Storm A penalty for the Storm is snapped upon by the Storm attackers for the first time in the match. Quick plays and Folau is over in the corner, his 6th try in 4 games. Smith has a tough kick from the sideline. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 6-0
10 min: The Knights try to hit back from the Storm try, aided by a penalty for a high shot, however the Storm defence is very sound, and the play breaks down on the fifth tackle.
11 min: Geyer close to scoring for Melbourne but loses the ball close to the try line. Sore remains 6-0 to Storm.
15 min: Mullen puts up a terrific high ball to the in goal. Slater bombs it totally resulting in a line dropout to the Knights
17 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Another mistake by the Storm right on the Knights line allows the Newcastle side a second set. Simpson bursts through a hole to score. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. 6 all
20 min: The Storm seem to be penalised in almost every set Newcastle have. A piggy back ride up the field has the Knights hot on attack again, only to break down close to their line with a knock on.
22 min: Penalty count 7-2 in the Knights favour. Melbourne get a warning. Infringing in the ruck area.
23 min: TRY Newcastle Knights Soft defence by Melbourne on the back of another set to the Knights. A huge gap opened in the Storm defence to allow Abraham an easy passage over the line. Conversion attempt by Kurt Gidley successful. Newcastle Knights 12-6
28 min: The weight of possession is with the home side. A nice little kick by Mullen towards Slater is taken by the Storm fullback only to be driven back over the line by 4 Knights players.
30 min: Four sets to the Knights and in the final set a flying MacDougall looked to have scored but a superb tackle by the Storm centre Quinn saves the day for Melbourne.
34 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Finally the Storm have only their second proper attacking opportunity in the match so far, and for the second time in the match, they score. Spreading the ball wide, Slater with a one handed pass, allows King over out wide. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. 12 all
36 min: A lot of whistle blowing is stifling the game it seems. A bit like a rendition of the 1812 overture by Tchaikovsky. 10 penalties so far in the match.
HALFTIME: The Knights withstand a lot of pressure late in the half. Both teams head to the sheds locked up at 12 all.
41 min: Storm finally get the second half underway, after a delay in getting a kicking tee.
42 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Cronk puts up a high kick towards the posts 40 metres out. The bounce is horrid for the Knights fullback and Quinn pounces on it to score against his old club. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 18-12
45 min: Both sides guilty of making errors at crucial times, stalling any attack.
50 min: Both teams moving the ball up the field in their sets, but not really threatening the defensive line. Score remains 18-12 Storm.
54 min: Rain absolutely pelting down. Lots of crowd noise as they duck for cover.
55 min: The rain stops as suddenly as it started leaving in it's wake greasy conditions. The error count quite high in the match already, no doubt will go higher.
61 min: Both sides seemingly going thru the motions. Mistakes disrupting plays unfortunately.
68 min: Slater close to scoring for the Storm. Video ref rules no try for obstruction.
70 min: The Knights have a perfect scoring opportunity after Slater once again makes a mistake in the in goal area. Unfortunately for the home side, ball handling skills let them down in the slippery conditions.
72 min: Newcastle hot on attack. Buderus ducks from dummy half on the fifth tackle but is held up by 4 Storm defenders. Storm cling on to their lead, 18-12.
74 min: Unbelieveably there have been 22 scrums in the match. Handling errors by both sides must be near an all time record!
77 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Folau gets his 2nd try to celebrate his 18th birthday the other day. Gidley lost a high kick in the glare from the lights, allowing the Storm an attacking chance from the line dropout. This time the ball stays in hand with Folau over in the corner. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 22-12
FULLTIME: Melbourne keep their 100% record in 2007 intact with the Knights pushing them for the full 80 minutes.
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