Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
This was a crucial game for both sides and the loss for Melbourne sees them slip out of finals contention as the Eagles start to show some good form, notching their first back to back wins of the season and now have an eye on a finals spot. Melbourne opened the scoring in the second minute with a try to Robbie Ross off a clever Scott Hill pass. Orford converted the try to give the Storm an early six nil lead.
In the eighth minute, Nath Long crashed over out wide to give the Eagles their first points of the day but the conversion attempt from Williamson was unsuccessful. Not long after, Robert Miles got the first of his two tries for the afternoon after the video ref correctly adjudicated Miles had not gone into touch just prior to planting the ball over the line. The try was not converted and the Eagles had gained the lead for the first time in the match to lead 8-6.
The Storm hit back with the next two tries to go to the halftime break leading 16-8 after tries to Langi in the 17th minute and and Swain in the 31st minute. That would be the end of the celebrations for the Storm.
The second half started much like the first with an early try in the first minute of the second half to Steve Menzies, his 128th first grade try and that moved him ahead of Dragons legend, Reg Gasnier to 12th all time on the leading tryscorers list. The Eagles then scored three tries in the space of nine minutes to rip the heart out of the Storm with tries in the 53rd minute to John Hopoate, then the 57th minute with another video ref call for Robert Miles and then in the 62nd for John Hopoate to bag his double. The rapidfire scoring took the scoreline out to 30-16 and Melbourne only had pride to play for. Teh Eagles then made sure the result was beyond doubt when Steve Menzies got his second under the posts in the 73rd minute to cap off a fine individual performance. Melbourne added some respectability to the scoreline with a consolation try to Peter Robinson.
Best for the Eagles were Menzies, Hopoate and Kosef. All three veterans provided great leader ship for a fairly young side with both Menzies and Hopoate bagging two tries a piece to ensure the Eagles maintain their unbeaten run at Brookvale Oval this year.
For Melbourne, another leg injury to fullback Robbie Ross left the Storm short of players on the bench and with Scott Hill backing up from Origin duties, the skills of Mat Orford would prove to be all in vein as the Storm came up to Sydney looking to post another win after demolishing the Rabbitohs last week.
Eagles 36 - Storm 22 Northern Eagles (Tries: Long, Miles x 2, Menzies x 2, Hopoate x 2. Goals: Williamson 4/7) Melbourne Storm (Tries: Ross, Langi, Swain, Robinson. Goals: Orford 3/4)