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3 days ago
Melbourne jumped out of the blocks in a much improved performance against an enthusiastic Knights side, before running away with the game in the second half, winning 40-14 in front of over 12,000 fans at AAMI Park.
On the second tackle of the game, Knights gave away a penalty for rushing off the line too quickly. It was just another two tackles later that Storm custodian Slater found some space after receiving a great Hoffman offload. He then threw an unorthodox pass over the top to Addo-Carr who dived over in the corner. Smith was unable to convert from touch.
The Storm scored again inside the opening ten minutes when a little chip by Slater bounced horribly for the Knights and perfectly for Vunivalu who scored under the posts untouched. Smith slotted the extras.
Storm scored again after 7 straight sets, thanks to Knights giving away penalties too often. Bromwich received a pass from dummy half and shovelled a short ball quickly along to Glasby who dived over the line for a soft try. Smith again converted from almost in front.
The Knights kick restart then went out on the full and after they gave away another penalty, Smith opted to take the gift two pointer and kicked a penalty goal. Storm leading 18-0 after 20 minutes.
The Knights didn't give up though and it was that man Ponga again involved when he found Fitzgibbon running a great inside line to barge over for a try. Ponga failed to convert.
With just two minutes left in the half the Knights scored again thanks a stunning hard, flat, cut-out pass from Pearce to Sio. The Knights winger stepped inside Vunivalu and scored out wide. Ponga was again unable to add the extras.
The second half started poorly for the Knights as form back rower Fitzgibbon was sent to the sin bin after a play the ball infringement. Storm wasted no time to take advantage of the extra man when they spread the ball to Addo-Carr who stretched out and scored a miraculous try. Smith's sideline conversion was perfect.
The bounce of the ball again favoured the Storm after Jacks put up a bomb. Pearce, acting as a blocker for Sio, ended up getting in the way. The ball hit Pearce on the head and was then cleaned up by Vunivalu who scored his second easy try off a kick for the night. Smith converted again.
The Knights wouldn't go away when Ponga laid on a great pass for Sio who went over for his second try of the night. Ponga converted.
The Knights fightback was snuffed out as quickly as it began when Jacks sent a nice short ball to Kaufusi who stepped out of a tackle to run away and score out wide. Smith failed to convert.
With just 6 minutes remaining, the Storm put the match beyond doubt when Kasiano shrugged off some lazy defence and ran away to score near the posts. Smith converted to bring up the 40.
Melbourne Storm 40 - Newcastle Knights 14
Venue: AAMI Park
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 18 Newcastle Knights 8
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Billy Slater
2 points - Jesse Bromwich
1 points - Nelson Asofa-Solomona
MELBOURNE STORM (40)
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr (2), Suliasi Vunivalu (2), Tim Glasby, Felise Kaufusi, Sam Kasiano
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/7)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (1/1)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (14)
Tries: Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Ken Sio (2)
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (1/3)