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Melbourne have lived up to the wide expectation that they'd put Newcastle through the cleaners tonight, taking the points with a 44-0 victory at Olympic Park tonight.
The victory was very much a clinical one, the home side receiving the lions share of penalties throughout the game to assist them into good field position. The Knights simply lacked direction with the ball, while the Storm knew exactly where to target in order to score the points.
The home side led 20-0 at halftime, tries to Slater, Quinn, Hoffman and Steve Turner crossing before the bell, some average kicking out wide from Cameron Smith missing two.
Little changed in the second half, the home side continuing on with the job, Quinn, Slater and Turner all grabbing doubles, while Matt King and ex-Knight Clint Newton also scoring a tries to take the total to 44 all up for the hosts. Newcastle simply never looked like scoring and all this was compounded late when second rower and Blues representative Steve Simpson was binned with 13 minutes remaining.
Newcastle will look to better days against Fittlers' Roosters at EnergyAustralia next weekend, while Melbourne will stay at home against Canberra hoping to consolidate the minor premiership and their perfect record at Olympic Park so far in 2007.
Match Details Round 18 :: July 16th, 2007 07:00 PM Venue: Olympic Park Referee: Gavin Badger Halftime: Melbourne Storm 20-0 Crowd: 10,223
Melbourne Storm 44 Tries: Steve Turner (2), Anthony Quinn (2), Ryan Hoffman, Billy Slater (2), Matt King, Clint Newton Goals: Cameron Smith (3/7), Steve Turner (1/2) Newcastle Knights 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Cameron Smith (Storm) 2 Points: Billy Slater (Storm) 1 Point: Anthony Quinn (Storm)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary We're here at The "Graveyard" tonight where the Knights will be looking for an unlikely victory over their Melbourne Storm counterparts.
Newcastle lose George Carmont, Cory Paterson and Kade Snowden, with the replacements Brad Tighe, Matthew White and Terrence Seu Seu.
Melbourne's forward pack shifts around, Garrett Crossman to start at prop in place of Ben Cross, with Clint Newton and Jeremy Smith swapping between bench and starter.
Just about to start here!
0 min: And we're underway!
1 min: No more than 70 second elapses and referee Badger not afraid to call Melbourne up for a grapple tackle penalty. Newcastle work it now out of their own half.
3 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a shock early try to Newcastle, Cooper Vuna ruled to have knocked the ball on... NO TRY.
5 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Some wide ball movement from the Storm on the attack sees McManus slip over, allowing Steve Turner to take advantage out wide. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 4-0
8 min: VIDEO REFEREE Speedy Knights winger Cooper Vuna is denied again, this time ruled to have gone into touch. If Newcastle can get the ball down cleanly, we've got a game on our hands. NO TRY.
9 min: A solid return set sees the Storm force Knights winger James McManus in goal and they'll get another set on the attack.
15 min: VIDEO REFEREE For a likely Storm try in the corner to former Knight Anthony Quinn. Decision pending.... TRY!
15 min: TRY Melbourne Storm The Storm attack Vuna's wing - who looks worse for wear, and Anthony Quinn manages to plant the ball down just inside the corner post. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 10-0
26 min: The Knights with a few chances since the last Storm try but no results as yet. They seem to be lacking direction once they reach the tryline and then unable to cross it. The Storm have also made a couple of unusual errors and the Knights defence is working solidly.
28 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Looks like I've put the mocker on - the Storm play some clinical footy to bust the Knights defensive line open and the lead continues to build in Melbourne with Hoffman crossing8 Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 16-0
32 min: TRY Melbourne Storm No surprises here as Melbourne continue to pile on the points - this time through Billy Slater. Strangely, Knights captain Danny Buderus has left the field but is uninjured. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 20-0
HALFTIME Melbourne Storm 20 Newcastle Knights 0 Melbourne holding a commanding lead at the break, Newcastle just not able to execute any plays or maintain any good field position without handing the ball over. Melbourne's tries for the most part have been clinical stuff and should they keep this play up should put at least 30 or 40 points on. Unusually Buderus left the field for Newcastle late in the half but it remains to be seen why.
Stay tuned for the second half soon.
41 min: Play resumes at Olympic Park, the Storm looking to hold the Knights out and perhaps continue giving their for and against a nice boost.
49 min: Neither team crossing yet but much of the same styles of play we saw in the first half, and really Newcastle haven't looked threatening yet.
52 min: TRY Melbourne Storm From a neat grubber through, Matt King puts the ball down and the formality of a Storm victory appears only 30 minutes away. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 24-0
54 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Cue the floodgates - a great setup run from Israel Folau and the ball away to Billy Slater sees the Storm begin the really put the foot down. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 30-0
60 min: Badger absolutely hammering Newcastle, the penalty count now reads 10-3 in favour of the home side.
67 min: VIDEO REFEREE For a try that simply won't be awarded to the Knights... NO TRY.
67 min: SIN BIN Steve Simpson (Newcastle Knights) Simpson flops on the tackled player and after a prior warning from referee Gavin Badger is sent for a ten minute kip. Melbourne look to go on the attack now and extend their lead over the 12-man visitors.
68 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Quinn goes over for his double off the ensuing penalty while hooker Cameron Smith's horrible night with the boot continues. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 34-0
73 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Newton goes over here as the Storm make a late charge for the half-century. Conversion attempt by Steve Turner successful. Melbourne Storm 40-0
78 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Turner scores a double also tonight, but fails to convert his own try. Conversion attempt by Steve Turner unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 44-0
FULLTIME Melbourne Storm 44 Newcastle Knights 0 The Storm have done as expected here tonight and put the cleaners through the Knights, hammering them 44-0 at Olympic Park.