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The Melbourne Storm have overcome an early 5-1 penalty count to run out victors over the Sydney Roosters 28 points to 12 tonight at Bluetongue Stadium.
Whilst the crowd had paid their money to see the two teams run around, it was the referees Jason Robinson and Tony De Las Heras on centre stage in the first half, blowing a total of 13 penalties and sending a player from each team to the bin.
The Roosters enjoyed the early share of penalties, and with a 5-1 count in their favour and Steve Turner in the bin, crossed first through Setaimata Sa in the 12th minute.
Following that, the Storm started to claw their way back in the penalty count, and following three straight penalties Brett White crossed in the 19th to even the game up at six-all.
Two more penalties later, and Willie Mason found himself off for a ten minute spell as well.
Both teams slowed their game down to try and come to grips with the referees game, and as a result the next score didn't come until the 35th with Turner finishing off a slick backline movement to cross in the corner.
Two minutes and one more penalty against the Roosters later, and Ryan Hoffman was over from dummy half to give the Storm a 16-6 half time lead.
Following the half time break, the Roosters had to be the first to score, which they were in the 43rd through Sam Perrett following a Turner howler in attempting to take a bomb.
Both teams lifted their intensity in the second half, and showed they'd done a quick review of the rules at the break as well, as there wasn't a penalty blown until the 54th minute.
That penalty piggybacked the Storm downfield, and Jeff Lima crossed to give his team a ten point advantage.
Brett Finch put the game beyond doubt in the 74th, before the game (fittingly) ended with two straight penalties to the Roosters in the final minute of play.
MATCH DETAILS Melbourne Storm 28 def Sydney Roosters 12 Round 9 - Monday May 11th, 2009 7:00pm Venue: Bluetongue Stadium Referee: Tony De Las Heras, Jason Robinson Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy, Mohamad Fajajo Video Referee: Phil Cooley Crowd: 8,412 Half Time: Storm 16-6
Sydney Roosters 12 Tries: Setaimata Sa, Sam Perrett Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (2/2) Melbourne Storm 28 Tries: Brett White, Steve Turner, Ryan Hoffman, Jeff Lima, Brett Finch Goals: Joseph Tomane (4/5)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Jeff Lima (Storm) 2 Points: Cooper Cronk (Storm) 1 Point: Brett Finch (Storm)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening and welcome to Bluetongue Stadium for tonights clash between the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm.
ROOSTERS: 1. Jordan Tansey 2. Sam Perrett 3. Setaimata Sa 4. Ben Jones 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Braith Anasta 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Nate Myles 9. James Aubusson 10. Frank Paul Nuuausala 11. Iosia Soliola 15. Willie Mason 12. Craig Fitzgibbon Interchange: 14. Lopini Paea 17. Jake Friend 19. Nick Kouparitsas 24. Sisi Waqa STORM: 1. Billy Slater 2. Steve Turner 3. Will Chambers 4. Greg Inglis 19. Joseph Tomane 6. Brett Finch 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jeff Lima 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 17. Brett White 15. Matt Cross 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Dallas Johnson Interchange: 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Adam Blair 16. Aiden Tolman 21. Sika Manu
0 min: And we're underway!
2 min: PENALTY - Storm: Ben Jones gives away the first penalty for holding down Turner in the tackle. Any advantage the Storm had is immediately lost as Matt Cross loses it on the second tackle.
3 min: PENALTY - Roosters: Now a holding down penalty against the Storm. Roosters in fantastic field position.
3 min: PENALTY - Roosters: Jason Robinson making sure he's the star here early tonight. Penalty for contact with the head of Pearce.
4 min: PENALTY - Roosters: Now there's a leg pull in the tackle. Four minutes in, four penalties already, and now an official warning against the Storm.
5 min: Pearce puts in an early kick that comes to nothing. Storm survive multiple attacks on their line.
7 min: Slater collects the ball at the back, and is then collected in a huge tackle by Soliola. Slater gets up pushing, obviously not happy with how long it was let go on for.
8 min: PENALTY - Roosters: Unlucky call against the Storm for a strip with two in the tackle on Jones, when replays suggest Jones hardly had control of the football.
10 min: PENALTY - Roosters; SIN BIN: Another penalty, and the refs have had enough. De Las Heras sends Turner to the corner for ten minutes to think about what he did.
12 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Some second phase footy from Nate Myles keeps the ball alive to Tansey, who passes long out to Sa who is simply too strong for the defence. While Fitzgibbon lines up the kick at goal Brett Finch is put on report for leading in with the legs as Sa scored the try. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Sydney Roosters 6-0
15 min: PENALTY - Storm: Melbourne finally get a penalty back after Fitzgibbon goes high on Johnson.
16 min: PENALTY - Storm: Back to back penalties for Melbourne, this one given right on the Roosters goal line after the markers weren't square. De Las Heras threatens Slater with the same treatment Turner got after Slater gives him a gobful.
18 min: Melbourne try a backline movement but the final pass from Slater to Chambers comes unstuck.
19 min: PENALTY - Storm: Pearce knocks on at the base of the scrum, and then gives away a penalty after having a bit to say about De Las Heras.
19 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Storm Try...: Just checking on possible obstruction.
19 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Melbourne get on the board after White crashes over under the posts. Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. 6 all
19 min: Turner has done his time and is now back on the field.
20 min: PENALTY - Storm: Willie Mason flops in over the top, and now an official warning for the Roosters.
24 min: PENALTY - Storm; SIN BIN: Well, you can't say they weren't warned. Mason gives away another penalty, and now it's his turn for a sit down.
25 min: Slater decides not to play the numbers game and instead grubbers in behind the line, which Tansey gladly watches roll dead.
27 min: Sloppy pass from Smith at dummy half lands at the feet of Blair who is unable to take it. Smith shakes his head in disgust.
28 min: Anasta drives the ball along the ground into touch - an astute play as it takes Slater out of the equation, whilst also reducing their time with 12 men on the field.
30 min: Time off while Ronnie Palmer comes across to give some assistance to James Aubusson, who appears to be in all sorts of trouble. Aubusson looks to have picked up an injury to his left knee.
34 min: Some ad-lib football from the Storm doesn't produce a try, however they do get another chance through a goal-line dropout.
35 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Storm Try...: Turner has crossed in the corner, however Robinson has sent it upstairs to check for obstruction.
35 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Cooley gives the green light, and the Storm have hit the lead. Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 10-6
36 min: News from the sheds - James Aubusson is gone for the night. Roosters down to 16 for the remainder of the game.
37 min: PENALTY - Storm: Fitzgibbon caught out at marker, and he's filthy with himself. Storm with a chance to blow this wide open.
38 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Hoffman goes straight from dummy half, and catches the Roosters line defence sleeping. Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 16-6
HALF TIME It's half time here at Bluetongue, and the referees have been at the centre of everything, blowing a total of 13 penalties and sending two players to the sin bin. Besides all the drama surrounding the men in the middle, there's also been a game of football played, with the Melbourne Storm overcoming an early six-nil deficit to lead 16-6 at the break.
40 min: Cam Smith gets us back underway!
42 min: Anasta launches the ball high and Turner makes an absolute meal of it. Six more coming up for the Roosters.
43 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Following the error from Turner, the Roosters spread it out wide and find the Storm short on the left, with Perrett crossing for a much needed try. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Melbourne Storm 16-12
48 min: The intensity has lifted here, and remarkably neither team has given away a penalty this half.
49 min: Tasney chips over the line on the last and regathers, before finding Friend in support who unfortunately doesn't have anyone else with him and gets taken to ground.
49 min: Massive hit on Finch by Sa, who dropped the shoulder and Finch went flying!
51 min: A bonus set of six for the Roosters after Tomane fluffs and absolute sitter of a catch. Friend went for the 40/20 but the ball came off the side of his boot. Tomane didn't have to move to catch it, but he did have to keep his eyes on the ball, as it went through his hands and over the sideline.
53 min: The Roosters go from side to side but don't really throw anything at the Storm line, and as a result give the ball up rather cheaply on the last.
54 min: PENALTY - Storm: Pearce comes up with a leg pull on Slater, and we have our first penalty of the second half.
56 min: Brett White goes agonisingly close to collecting a double, with desperate defence leaving him held up right next to the goal posts.
57 min: TRY Melbourne Storm White couldn't get there, so Lima shows his front row partner how it's done! From the tap restart, Smith finds Cronk who finds Lima running an inside line, who then runs back outside and crashes over for the try. Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 22-12
59 min: PENALTY - Storm: Roosters give away another penalty, this time for a hand on the ball in the ruck.
61 min: Hoffman can't get a grip on the ball and the Roosters breathe a collective sigh of relief as they are really under the pump here.
64 min: Another let off for the Roosters and Slater delivers a forward pass to Blair ten out from the Roosters line.
65 min: Anasta runs down the short side, launches the ball high and in the contest for the ball, Slater comes off second best, writhing around on the ground with what looks like a back or neck injury.
66 min: Roosters have crossed the line but are pulled back for a forward pass from Friend.
68 min: Tansey puts up possibly the worst mid-field bomb in the history of the game, but definitely gets the best bounce as it lands in the middle of the in-goal and bounces back and forth, forcing Slater to play at the ball and make it back to the field of play.
71 min: Soliola follows up his big hit on Finch with another on the much larger Blair. If Finch was entree, and Blair the main, I wonder who he's going to have for dessert.
73 min: Following a long break down field, the Roosters found themselves in prime scoring position until Mason drops an absolute sitter of a pass from Pearce.
74 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Finch seals the win for the Storm with a good show-and-go, slicing in between Pearce and Myles for the try. Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 28-12
76 min: Anasta tries the short kickoff, but Kenny-Dowall bats it into touch.
79 min: PENALTY - Roosters: Slater plays the ball incorrectly, and the Roosters will have one last chance to reel back the scoreline.
79 min: PENALTY - Roosters: Roosters get another penalty right at the death, but can't make anything of it.
FULL TIME It's full time here at Bluetongue, with the Storm running out victors over the Roosters 28 points to 12.