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Melbourne ease past troubled Bulldogs
Melbourne have maintained their position at top, disposing of a poor Canterbury outfit, 28-18 in front of 9,963 fans at Adelaide Oval.
Canterbury needed to make a statement and after some settling it, it looked like Melbourne looked more often. Bulldogs back three refused to jump for the ball, allowing Melbourne to pounce through Bromwich who was Inspector Gadget in scoring.
Bulldogs would hit back through mercurial fullback Ben Barba who exploded onto a football, outpacing the chasers to level the standings. Melbourne though would revert to pressuring the back three and it produced gold, when Cronk latched onto an offload and stepped to score. Waqa crossed in the corner to make it 16 points to six going into halftime.
The second half, would open with some Canterbury domination, they got several repeat sets on Melbourne's line but it took a barnstorming run from Sam Kasiano who offloaded to David Stagg who reduced the margin to four.
Sadly, that would be as close as Canterbury would get in this contest. Their constant drop balls would just invite Melbourne into their half and Matt Duffie would revert to his high jump days to bring down the ball just inside the touchline for Melbourne's fourth try.
Six minutes later, Cronk gleefully accepted a bat back from Duffie after a pin-point kick to put the game outside Canterbury's reach and make it six away wins in a row for a Storm outfit who weren't rated for big things in 2011.
The Bulldogs would claw one back late in the piece, when Steve Turner took advantage of a loose ball to race away for a consolation try, converting his own effort to make it 28-18 at fulltime.
Canterbury slump further down the ladder and will be awoken in the morning, with more club in crisis headlines calling for the head of head coach Kevin Moore.
Canterbury Bulldogs 18 were defeated by Melbourne Storm 28
National Rugby League - Round 18 - Saturday July 9, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Referee: Steve Lyons and Chris James
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and Gavin Reynolds
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 6 Melbourne Storm 16
Canterbury Bulldogs (18)
Tries: Steve Turner, Ben Barba, David Stagg
Conversions: Steve Turner (3/3)
Melbourne Storm (28)
Tries: Cooper Cronk (2), Sisa Waqa, Matt Duffie, Jesse Bromwich
Conversions: Cameron Smith (3/4), Gareth Widdop (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's Super Saturday and the Bulldogs have taken a home clash against the Storm to the famous Adelaide Oval... discuss the match on our forums, or follow us on Twitter, @LeagueUnlimited and be sure to add the hashtag #nrlcbymel!
Welcome to a cold Adelaide Oval, for a Bulldogs home game in the foreign land of Adelaide. Canterbury have been inconsistent this year and will have a tough task, overcoming ladder leaders Melbourne.
Earlier in the U20s, being played at the Crest Stadium back in Sydney. Melbourne defeated Canterbury 30 points to 24, to take 2nd position on the Toyota Cup ladder.
Canterbury: Ben Roberts starts at 5/8, putting Kris Keating to the bench. Dene Halatau takes Michael Ennis' hooking spot due to his injury and Corey Payne has a bout of tonsillitis, replaced by Gary Warburton.
Melbourne: Cameron Smith with start from the bench, Ryan Hinchcliffe elevated to starting hooker, Sika Manu takes the vacant lock role.
1 min: Melbourne have entered the field, waiting for Canterbury to emerge from the tunnel. Here they come! Cronk will get the game underway!
2 min: Good opening sets by both sides, Barba almost setting Idris up from the return.
4 min: Jonathan Wright doesn't let the kick bounce but he gets no dividends as he spills it.
6 min: TRY
Well that was kinda awkward.. Bromwich looks like he's held but he stretches his hand out and plants the ball down. Widdop from basically in front, makes it six.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
10 min: 1, 2, 3 you were all in front of the referee. Melbourne get the first penalty of the night.
11 min: Forward pass to Bryan Norrie, Bellamy won't be happy, that was in a good position.
16 min: Ben Barba allows the ball to bounce like it was diseased and Melbourne come away with it again.
17 min: Matt Duffie leaps and has planted the ball down? no he's lost it.
18 min: Good charge by Willie Mason look-alike Martin Taupau, earns the Bulldogs a penalty. Another penalty for an obvious strip.
Ben Barba might have made up for his mistake with this try, checking interference.
21 min: TRY
Melbourne try a chip kick in their own half but slip and guess who is there, Ben Barba who explodes onto the ball, fends off the defense, to score! Steve Turner uses some swing, more often seen by Glenn McGrath here in Adelaide but it goes over, that's all that matters.
24 min: Canterbury are starting to make inroads into Melbourne's defence but need a better kicking game.
25 min: Not a happy night thus far for Jonathan Wright, this is his second drop and it's judged offside cause a team mate touched it.
27 min: A bit disjointed by Melbourne there, finished with a nice slips catch by Frank Pritchard.
28 min: The back three for the Bulldogs are having troubles with their hands tonight.. dropped by Turner this time.
30 min: TRY
All it took was some second phase play and a step from Cronk to go through the Bulldog's defence to touch down. Smith is on and takes over the kicking duties, slotting it easily.
Melbourne Storm 12-6
31 min: This here is what we call domination, Melbourne have had 58% of the ball and will get here, with this penalty.
32 min: It's origin redux, Smith stabs one through and gets a repeat set.
35 min: TRY
The Storm are just refusing to die with the ball here, Smith realises it needs to go left, gets it out there and it's kept alive until Waqa strolls in for the third try of the night for Melbourne. Cameron Smith with a slightly harder kick from the sideline misses the conversion.
Melbourne Storm 16-6
38 min: Ben Barba would have troubles catching a child at the moment, letting another bomb bounce. He's driven into the in-goal for his trouble but Waqa spills a walk in.
40 min: Andrew Ryan drops a simple one and Melbourne launch one final raid but it goes out.
41 min: Back underway, through the Bulldogs.
44 min: Melbourne are just rolling on but Bulldogs are saved by a knock on by Blair.
45 min: Bulldogs get a penalty, as the crowd goes mild?
46 min: There is just no urgency or confidence in the Bulldogs, a loose pass goes to ground.
49 min: Bulldogs try a wide spread but it's touched, so six more for the Bulldogs.
49 min: Bulldogs will get their first attacking set, in the second half, after another penalty.
51 min: Melbourne gettting some free on line defense, after conceding back to back penalties.
55 min: TRY
A charging run from Kasiano, after several sets at the Melbourne line and they finally crack when Stagg latches onto an offload to score! Turner from besides the posts, converts.
Melbourne Storm 16-12
56 min: Oh dear, Kasiano was hammered on the first hit up and spills it.
57 min: Billy Slater tries to get up too fast, dropping it.
58 min: Some razzle dazzle from Canterbury but Melbourne scramble well and keep them out.
62 min: TRY
Melbourne wrestle it off Turner. Cronk kicks it to Duffie who leaps up and does a superman to put the ball down for another try. A touch of in-swing from Cameron Smith puts the ball between the sticks.
Melbourne Storm 22-12
64 min: Bulldogs get a piggyback, another penalty. It's 5-0 in the second half, thus far.
68 min: TRY
Melbourne put it in the air, no challenge from Canterbury and Duffie bats it for Cronk to get his double. Smith from an easier angle converts.
Melbourne Storm 28-12
69 min: Storm try some second phase play but trickles over the sideline.
70 min: 5th tackle, poor option and changeover. Melbourne gets the ball back.
72 min: Barba tries a chip kick for Turner but he spills it.
74 min: Another spill by Canterbury, Melbourne have the chance to put on some more points but they slide it through for a dropout.
79 min: TRY
Game has degenerated into dropsies but Turner swoops on a ball and streaks away. Turner from the sideline, converts.
Melbourne Storm 28-18
80 min: Slater bursts into the backfield for a solo effort but he kicks ahead for himself, Turner covers and that is fulltime.