A frantic play after the final siren has delivered the Melbourne Storm a 28-24 victory over the Dragons at AAMI Park tonight in front of 13,130 fans.
Ahead 24-22 with just one set left to defend, the Dragons looked to have the game in the bag with a covering tackle on their defensive right side. The siren sounded as the Storm got up to play the ball, but play went on. Cooper Cronk pushed a cross-field kick to the opposite wing, where it was tapped back and found its way eventually to Tohu Harris, who identified an overlap on the left. The ball made it's way out to Young Tonumaipea who scored a miraculous try in the corner.
The Dragons were the stronger starters of the two sides, scoring the opener down the left through Dylan Farrell before the Storm replied with two tries of their own to Jesse Bromwich and Will Chambers to grab a 10-4 lead. The Dragons then levelled scores against the run of play with five minutes to play before halftime, Brett Morris clamouring over the defenders after a spilled bomb to score yet another try.
Halftime loomed large as scores were locked at 10-all but the Dragons were able to take the lead going into the break with Chambers putting a risky shoulder charge on Josh Dugan, and Gareth Widdop converting the subsequent attempt at penalty goal.
The Dragons steamed ahead in the second half with Gerard Beale scoring off a sensational team-try scenario kicked off by a Josh Dugan break. A reshuffled backline due to an earlier injury to Farrell continued to rally for the visitors and this continued to cause problems for the Storm, as did Widdop's kicking game. This was most telling with the Dragons' final try, where Widdop launched a high ball and Slater again made the error. Dugan who was adjudged to be *just* onside by the video referee, picked up the scraps and found Trent Merrin who helped extend the Dragons lead.
The visitors' resolve was then tested for the last 20 minutes - the Storm took control of the contest and worked their way back to 24-22 with two momentum-backed tries through Chambers and Cronk. The Dragons held out as long as they could... but the Storm managed to push home with that controversial final minute four-pointer. Smith converted to make it a 28-24 win.
The heartbroken Dragons now go home to Kogarah for the first time this season to host the Warriors on Saturday evening, while the Storm will be happy to have picked up two points ahead of a Sunday afternoon trip to GIO Stadium where they face Canberra.