The Melbourne Storn have run out winners over the North Queensland Cowboys by 22-16 at Olympic Park tonight.
After making a handling error from the kickoff, the Cowboys were forced to make the first 45 tackles while the Storm enjoyed 97% of the possession in the opening 10 minutes.
With the score at 10-0 down, the Cowboys finally gained posession to post their first points after 15 minutes. The North Queenslanders struck back again and following a third try and found themselves in front 16-12 at half time.
But the Melbourne side kept the visitors scoreless in the second half scoring two tries including a sensational team effort which leveled the scores in the 54th minute.
Scorers: STORM 22 Tries: Geyer, Moala, Hoffman, Orford Goals: Orford 3/6 defeated COWBOYS 16 Tries: Myles, Dezolt, Morgan Goals: Morrison 2/4
Saturday 12 July 2003 7:30 PM Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: Sean Hampstead
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Geyer (Storm) 2 - M Sargent (Storm) 1 - M Orford (Storm)
By the clock: 0 min: Players in the sheds warming up... kickoff soon... There's been some light rain in chilly Melbourne so the playing surface should slippery under foot.
Fireworks done with... kickoff!
3 min: TRY - Storm. Matt Geyer scores. Follows error on the kickoff against Paul Rauhihi (Cowboys) who knocked on from the kickoff and put the Cowboys' line under pressure. Storm got the ball back for a repeat set. A backline movement sees Geryer score out wide following video ref scrutiny on a touchline call. Conversion Matt Orford misses. Storm 4-0
7 min: TRY - Storm. Fifita Moala scores after pulling down a cross-field kick from Orford. Cowboys have only had one touch of the ball (the Rauhihi knock-on) and have made over 40 tackles to nil. Storm enjoying 97% possession early on. Storm also conceding penalties. Conversion from Orford is a ripper. Storm 10-0
9 min: NEWS - Peter Robinson (Storm) forced from the field with a lower leg problem. Moments later, the Cowboys finally get hold of the ball.
15 min: TRY - Cowboys. Five eighth David Myles puts a chip down the sideline from half way and regathers to score a much needed try 10m from the posts. Conversion attempt from Glenn Morrison is wide. Storm 10-4
19 min: PENALTY GOAL - Storm. Orford puts the home side further ahead. Follows a nonsense penalty against Rauhihi (in possession from the kickoff) for a push and shove while he was trying to play the ball. Storm 12-4
26 min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Stephen Kearney (Storm) is penalised for throwing the first in a dust-up between he and Morrison. Morrison has no trouble finding goal. Storm 12-6
31 min: TRY - Cowboys. Paul Dezolt scores under the posts after running from dummy half from 5m out. Conversion Morrison. 12-all
37 min: TRY - Cowboys. Winger Aaron Morgan scores 15m in from touch following a 50m movement. A few dusty moments in the lead-up including a high tackle from Myles (Cowboys) on Kirk Reynoldson (Storm) which may see him facing the judiciary. Conversion attempt from Morrison never looked like getting there. Cowboys 16-12
HALF TIME: A big comeback from the Cowboys who looked in all sorts of strife in the first 10 minutes. The visitors hitting the front just before half time. Cowboys 16-12
Second half underway... Storm with a very slight breeze behind them.
44 min: NEWS - Peter Robinson (Storm) forced from the field and will take no further part. Paul Bowman (Cowboys) injured in the altercation stays on the field but is struggling. Bowman leaves the field several minutes later.
50 min: NEWS - Glen Turner (Storm) on report for late and high tackle.
54 min: TRY - Storm. Ryan Hoffman scores. Sensational team try. Orford chips from half way. Billy Slater catches it on the full, Orford backs up then Mitchell Sargent backs up and passes a tremendous ball to Hoffman who has just come on the field. Hoffman scores 10m to the left of the uprights. Conversion Orford is unsuccessful. 16-all
NEWS - Paul Bowman back on for the Cowboys
64 min: TRY - Storm. Orford scores 10m in from touch. Follows a repeat set. Conversion Orford unsuccessful. Storm 20-16
75 min: No change to the score. Cowboys with the ball on the own 30m line after Orford finds touch.
79 min: PENALTY GOAL - Storm. Cowboys trapped in their own in-goal and they kick out on the full while attempting a short drop out. Orford slots it through. Storm 22-16
FULL TIME: A rugged match with plenty of hard hits. Players from both sides wearing the bruises and the bandages. Storm too good in the end, running out winners, 22-16.