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Storm end Tigers' run and farewell
Fulltime score: Round 25 STORM 34 v WESTS TIGERS 22
Match summary: The Melbourne Storm have put on a fine display of attacking football to defeat Wests Tigers 34-22 and end the Tigers' eight match winning streak. Today's victory at Olympic Park was a fitting farewell for Robbie Kearns, the outgoing front rower playing his final game in Melbourne should the Storm not earn a home final.
In an often exciting match, the Tigers opened the scoring after just five minutes and looked ready to take control. But the Storm ran in the next three tries and at half time, held a handy 18-6 lead.
The Storm went further ahead after the break, scoring another two tries to grab a winning 28-6 lead.
The Tigers struck back but the Storm put the match beyond doubt when Antonio Kaufusi busted through following some lead up work from fellow forward David Kidwell and half back Matt Orford.
With 15 minutes remaining and trailing 34-12, it appeared that the Tigers' bubble had burst. But a strong finish from the visitors saw them run in two late tries to stem the flow and bring some respectability to the scoreline.
Storm v Tigers match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: MELBOURNE STORM 34 Tries: Orford, Smith, Geyer, Bell, Inglis, Kaufusi Goals: Orford 5/5, Smith 0/1 WESTS TIGERS 22 Tries: Fitzhenry 2, Whatuira, Richards Goals: Hodgson 3/4
Live commentary: 0 min: The Melbourne Storm coming off a bye and are looking to push for a top four spot. The Tigers going for their ninth win in a row to cement a top four spot and are keen to press for a top two spot. If Melbourne are unable to secure a home semi, this could be Robbie Kearn's farewell home game for the Storm. Should be a cracker of a match...
5 min: TRY - Tigers. Daniel Fitzhenry scores after an overlap forms on the right side. Wide conversion and into the breeze from Brett Hodgson is successful. Tigers 6-0
11 min: TRY - Storm. Matt Orford steps and reaches out to score 15m in from touch on the left side. Storm denied moments earler when support player Matt King would have scored but was held back by a defender. Orford converts. 6-all
18 min: TRY - Storm. Cameron Smith crashes over next to the posts from short range. Orford converts. Storm 12-6
23 min: TRY - Storm. Matt Geyer crosses and then improves his position to score near the posts. The Storm making hay down their left side and are carving up the Tigers' right side defence. Orford converts. Storm 18-6
29 min: NO TRY - Storm. Ryan Hoffman denied after Storm are ruled to have knocked on. A close one. A let off for Wests.
37 min: NEWS - Storm forward Dallas Johnson forced off with a leg injury.
40 min: NEWS - A big let off for the Storm with the Tigers on the attack with players in support, eventually passing it to a Stom player in traffic.
Half time: Storm 18-6 Both sides looking exciting in attack but possession in the middle of the half saw the Storm gain the ascendancy at crucial moments. Melbourne finding a weakness in the Tiger's right side defence and that's where their points are coming. The Tigers will have the wind in the second half and will need to tighten up their defence wide of the ruck. They certainly have the weapons in attack and despite the scoreline, its anyone's game.
Second half underway...
44 min: TRY - Storm. Steven Bell runs almost the length of the field after Scott Hill picks up a loose ball and puts Bell into space down the right flank. Wide conversion Cameron Smith is unsuccessful. Storm 22-6
NEWS - Tood Payten (Tigers) has a tricep injury and will take no further part. Dallas Johnson (Storm) has a medial ligament injury and wil take no further part. In other news, the Storm have issued two official complaints, one against the Tigers trainer running in the defensive line and another against the Tigers' kicking tee which they claim is too high and not regulation, the Tigers have regained the ball from the kick-off on two occasions.
53 min: TRY - Storm. Greg Inglis leaps high and pulls down a Orford bomb to score a great try next to the uprights. Follows some lead up work with the Storm forwards hurting the defence. Conversion Orford. Storm 28-6
NEWS - from the sheds. Tigers forward Todd Payten has reportedly torn the tricep off the bone... a season injury.
58 min: TRY - Tigers. Paul Whatuira scores in the corner following some quick hands and an overlap. Hodgson's conversion is a ripper. Storm 28-12
65 min: TRY - Storm. Antonio Kaufusi takes full advantage of some soft defence to race through and score under the post. Follows some leadup work and a neat flick pass from Orford. Conversion Orford and that'll be the ball game. Storm 34-12
75 min: TRY - Tigers. Fitzhenry gets a double in the corner following a grubber kick from Robert Farah. Follows Storm being well in charge with some punishing runs up the middle of the ruck with David Kidwell featuring. Tigers playing catch up footy in attack and making a few errors, the Storm eyeing off intercepts regularly. Conversion Hodgson misses. Storm 34-16
79 min: TRY - Tigers Pat Richards shows some great pace down the left flank to run away and score in the corner. The Tigers doing a lot to stem the flow and protect their for-and-against stats. Conversion successful. Storm 34-22
Full time: Storm 34-12 ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Orford (Storm) 2 - D Kidwell (Storm) 1 - R Kearns (Storm) -----------------------------------------