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The Melbourne Storm put on a show for their home fans as the club rocketed to their fifth straight victory at AAMI Park defeating the Newcastle Knights 34-22 in front of 11,369 fans.
The key three players for the Melbourne based club were on show again with Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater all adding their marks throughout the contest.
The wonderful display from the home side started as Gareth Widdop strolled over the goal line untouched to see the Storm open 6-0 after five minutes. The start for the Knights wasn't as bad with their defensive mostly strong against a rampaging Melbourne pack.
A simple error can change the tide of possession and the Storm certainly capitalised on this. Will Chambers picked up a loose ball and streaked away to link up with Matt Duffie to close out an 80 metre try. Melbourne were in front 12-0 with Cameron Smith's conversion after 13 minutes.
Billy Slater and Matt Duffie are known for their aerial assaults on goal lines. In similar fashion to their style, James McManus swivelled over the line to claim the Knights' opening four-pointer. Kurt Gidley without mistake added the extras six minutes before half time, closing the Storm's lead to 12-6.
Not to be outdone, the Storm rolled through the Knights line as Ryan Hoffman split the defence to bring up his side's third of the night. Video Referee Sean Hampstead was brought into the situation and awarded the try after no obstruction was evident. Smith hooked the conversion from out wide. The score heading into the break at half time saw the Storm leading 16-6.
The second half started as a middle-ground battle, but that was broken as Billy Slater dived on a loose offload at the Knights line to miraculously cross for his ninth try of the season. The Storm extended their lead to 22-6 with 12 minutes of the second forty lapsed.
Fill-in centre Will Chambers was in the action again, with his power on display as he broke through three Knights defenders for another Storm try.The class of the 'purple pride' too much for the visitors with 15 minutes on the clock, Melbourne 28-6.
Four final tries closed out the contest with the Melbourne Storm squad having already put the sword to the Knights. Not to die quietly, from the scrumbase Jarrod Mullen stepped through the defensive line and added his name to the scorers tally after 68 minutes. Knights fought to the end, 28-12.
A quick turn in possession had the Knights defending their goal-line again. Amazingly Todd Lowrie managed to stumble-step over the whitewash to get a four-pointer added next to his name. Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith's wonderful passing game was on show as Lowrie crossed. Inside the final ten minutes the Storm led 34-12.
Simple yet effective was the order of the evening, as Neville Costigan became the Knights third tryscorer with a solo try out of dummy half. Newcastle captain Kurt Gidley converted the four-pointer but as a result, a knee injury flared up. Three minutes remained on the scoreboard with the Knights behind 34-18.
The final play fell with the Knights as James McManus slid over for his second of the match. With their captain off the paddock, the last man who wanted to attempt the conversion was Junior Sa'u, however the duties were given to the winger. The attempt poor as it was guided towards the unaware Storm players. The siren echoing around AAMI Park signalled fulltime, in which the Melbourne Storm ended victors 34-22.
With the Storm on a high with five straight victories in 2012, they will look to continue that streak with a trip to North Queensland when they are hosted by the Cowboys on Easter Sunday night. Meanwhile the Knights will return home with a loss, to host the Parramatta Eels earlier on the same day.
Melbourne Storm 34 defeated Newcastle Knights 22
National Rugby League - Round 5 - Friday March 30, 2012 7:45pm
Venue: AAMI Park
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Grant Atkins
Halftime: Melbourne Storm 16 Newcastle Knights 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cameron Smith (5/6 Conversions)
2 Points - Cooper Cronk
1 Point - Billy Slater (1 Try)
MELBOURNE STORM (34)
Tries: Todd Lowrie, Ryan Hoffman, Billy Slater, Will Chambers, Gareth Widdop, Matt Duffie
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/6)
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (22)
Tries: Jarrod Mullen, James McManus (2), Neville Costigan
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (3/3), Junior Sau (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Join the conversation - follow LeagueUnlimited on Twitter and tweet about the match using the Official Hashtag = #NRLmelnew.
Welcome to Heritage Round for 2012. Tonight the first of two matches coming out of AAMI Park with the Melbourne Storm hosting the Newcastle Knights
It's going to be a defensive contest with both sides conceding the fewest tries in the 2012 season. The Storm will look to extend their winning streak to five straight whilst the Knights will hope to back up their defeat of the Bulldogs last week.
Some positional changes for both sides with only the one late exclusion by the Storm.
Storm: Anthony Quinn replaces Sisa Waqa; Ryan Hinchcliffe starts with Todd Lowrie benched.
Knights: Alex McKinnon will start with Neville Costigan shifting to the bench.
Kick off to this clash is expected to get us underway in about 25 minutes time. Enjoy the footy and celebrate it's Friday!
Both teams about to come out of the sheds with the kick off moments away.
1 min: We are underway here at AAMI Park with the Storm kicking off to get us started.
2 min: Simple kick downfield from Cronk from inside the 40 metre line. The Storm with a big chance to open the scoring account. Great 40/20 kick.
3 min: Great goal line defence from the Knights to hold out the Storm from scoring. However the set ends with James McManus getting caught in goal after taking the kick. Cooper Cronk is being targeted by the Knights as they jump on him early.
5 min: TRY
Gareth Widdop makes it too easy with the half strolling over the line. Great Storm set move. The Knights defence has been great early, but the players in moments too good.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
7 min: Widdop with a controlling play with the kick rolling downfield and over the touchline. Knights will get the scrum feed deep in their half.
9 min: A strange kick from the Knights to end their set, however 25 metres out from the Storm line they turn over the ball to the Storm with a scrum feed 10 metres out.
10 min: Tahu strong in defence pushing up to force the lose ball from Sika Manu in the tackle. Scrum feed for the Knights on halfway.
11 min: Penalty to the Knights for the Storm being offside. Big chance at the line now for the visitors only 10 metres out.
13 min: TRY
The Storm captalise on Knights error and Will Chambers turns defence into attack. He linked up with Matt Duffie to streak away 80 metres to score. Cam Smith converts without issue.
Melbourne Storm 12-0
16 min: Knights spreading the ball in their set, Sa'u got up and close with Anthony Quinn with a big hit from him. On the last a high kick collected early just short of the goal line.
17 min: Cooper Cronk ending the set with a big kick, Storm held to their own 30 metre line. Boyd collected the kick without contest.
18 min: Knights get a 20 metre tap as they are let off with the ball being knocked dead.
19 min: Kurt Gidley's high bomb ended the Knights set as Billy Slater leapt high to take the ball without contest. Storm working it deep in their half.
20 min: Penalty to the Storm on the 4th tackle for holding down in the ruck. The Storm will attack from halfway with a full set.
21 min: Billy Slater almost crossing over the goal line, however running sideways and offload back on the inside to the Knights to escape without points being scored.
24 min: Some magical play from both sides with the Knights working strong through the Storm line to gain 60 metres in their set. Kick from the Knights taken by Slater in goal and looking trapped got a pop pass out to Widdop to escaped the in goal area.
25 min: Sika Manu may of picked up an injury, awaiting to hear more.
26 min: Manu has been replaced by Todd Lowrie as the Knights get a scrum feed.
29 min: Penalty against the Storm. Knights marching upfield with a repeat set. Opportunity to add points.
30 min: Kurt Gidley with a wobbly kick across the field ends the good attacking set. Matt Duffie leaping high in goals to take it on the full. Quick 20 metre tap taken. Billy Slater doing well to stop Uate from scoring.
32 min: Penalty to the Knights with the defensive committing too much in the tackle. Held call came and it wasn't released. Knights winning the count 3-1. They attack from the Storm 40 metre line.
34 min: TRY
James McManus leaping high through the air and swirling over the goal line. Knights off the Mullen kick finally get points. Kurt Gidley adds the 2 points.
Melbourne Storm 12-6
36 min: Storm giving away another penalty for the Knights to go on the attack after the points.
36 min: Not the best way to start after a penalty, the Knights dropping the ball after looking for a quick play of the ball. Storm on the attack in the Knight half.
38 min: Jarrod Mullen running through and sending the ball over the dead ball line. Storm get the drop out for a shot at the line before the siren.
38 min: Video Referee Decision for Ryan Hoffman - Possible Storm try here.
39 min: TRY
Ryan Hoffman splits the Knights defensive line to crash over the for the Storm's third four-pointer. Video Referee couldn't seen a obstruction on the Knights defence so awards the try. Cam Smith pushes the conversion wide to bring up the half time score, 16-6.
Melbourne Storm 16-6
40 min: Half time here at AAMI Park, Melbourne Storm 16 leading the Newcastle Knights 6.
40 min: Both sides back onto the AAMI Park surface ready and waiting for the second half.
40 min: The Knights get us back underway for the second half, Storm with the ball to start their run to a victory in this half.
42 min: James McManus opened up the Storm line on the left side with some great ball movement, however it was all wrapped up under the goal mouth to give the Storm the ball short of their goal line.
43 min: Billy Slater showing some skill as he got a kick away before the ball was lost. Storm looked to the air but Duffie knocks it over the touchline to give the ball to the Knights.
44 min: Uate making another line break to opening up the line of the Storm before being wrapped up.
46 min: Matt Duffie flying high without much pressure on him, wonderful take from the Storm winger. Storm work it from their goal line.
46 min: Cronk's kick a clamming one with it rolling over the side line. Knights slowly packing down the scrum on their 10 metre line. Storm controlling things early in the second half.
48 min: KNOCK ON! A simple error gives up possession to the Storm, the Knights looked for a quick play but losing control of the ball.
52 min: TRY
Billy "The Kid" Slater on the spot to pick up the offload pass to dive at the Knights line untouched. A questionable pass however referee awarded the Storm's fourth try of the evening. Cam Smith converts from besides the posts.
Melbourne Storm 22-6
53 min: Slater in all the action flying through following his try to get the ball for the Storm as they attack on the Knights line looking for more points.
55 min: Smith looked for hole with a grubber kick at the goal line however hitting the legs of the defence and Sa'u dives on the ball for the Knights.
57 min: Time off for a moment with James McManus down after getting his legs chopped out from under him. Looked painful but eventually gets up and plays the ball for the Knights.
59 min: Penalty to the Knights for a strip. Storm could leap points here with a good shot at the line.
61 min: Knights trying to get a penalty but to no luck with the Storm escaping the raid of the line. Tim e off here with Sa'u down in back play.
61 min: Anthony Quinn has been placed on report for a high shot on a player without the ball. Penalty Knights, big shot at the Storm line here.
62 min: Matt Duffie thrown into touch, however the Storm will get the ball as the Knights pushed the wide passing and knocking on.
62 min: Penalty to the Storm against Kurt Gidley for back-chatting to the referee. As a result he was then marched 10 metres. Storm on the attack in the Knights half.
64 min: TRY
Will Chambers using his power and strength to get through three Knights defenders to crash over the line. Storm on fire with more points. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 28-6
68 min: KNOCK ON! Ryan Hoffman giving up the ball in the tackle. Knights with a scrum feed deep in the Storm half.
68 min: TRY
From the scrum base, Jarrod Mullen simply splits the Storm line and gives the Knights their second try of the night. Gidley converts for the Knights.
Melbourne Storm 28-12
72 min: TRY
Todd Lowrie stumbled his way over the line after linking up with great passing from Cooper Cronk and Cam Smith out of dummy half. Smith converts to add more points.
Melbourne Storm 34-12
74 min: KNOCK ON Storm...Knights on the attack deep in the Storm half.
75 min: Penalty to the Knights, another shot at the Storm line as the clock ticks away.
77 min: TRY
Out of dummy half Neville Costigan dives out and crashes over the line. Knights get their third try. Gidley converts but his knee injury flares up as a result.
Melbourne Storm 34-18
80 min: TRY
James McManus linking up with a wide passing to crash over for his second. Junior Sau with one of the worst attempts at conversion from the sideline misses. He almost taking out the Storm players.
Melbourne Storm 34-22