Storm power home over Knights in emotional farewell for departing heroes

20,517 fans packed AAMI Park to farewell several departing players and the Melbourne Storm 2010 season. Melbourne completed the game in style, powering home to a 34 - 4 victory over the Newcastle Knights to finish their horror season on a high.

Melbourne Storm looked to have come out to assert their dominance and to power their season to a close, taking an early lead when Greg Inglis forced his way over the tryline in the 8th minute, this was converted by Cameron Smith and followed minutes later with Cameron Smith putting Ryan Hinchcliffe in to score, than converting it to give Melbourne a 12 point lead at the 11th minute.

Melbourne looked to be well on top at that stage, but errors and penalties became the story of what was left of the half.  Plenty of possession and good field position for the Knights gave them some momentum midway through the first half, but the closest they came to scoring in the opening 40 was an easy NO TRY decision for video referee Phil Cooley in the 20th minute, when the ball had touched the sideline before it was grounded.

The rest of the half saw both teams struggle to complete sets, but strong defensive efforts saw no blunder converted into points.  Rain started to fall in the last 7 minutes which increased the speed of errors and made for a sloppy closing to the half which ended with Melbourne ahead 12 - 0.

The clouds had parted to make way for the second half and is started much cleaner than the first finished, we had some great football and when the Knights were finally able to penetrate the Melbourne line the 47th minute we looked to have a real contest on our hands.  Melbourne had been defending stoutly, but Kevin Naiqama on debut managed to put Zeb Taia in close to the touchline catching Melbourne off guard.

Despite the four points, ill discipline crept its way back into the Knights' game with them conceding a few penalties following the try.  Melbourne hit back on the scoreboard in the 53rd minute with a try to departing back rower Ryan Hoffman in a very bizarre movement which was eventually grounded for a try.  The conversion from Cameron Smith had the home side ahead 18 points to 4.

The next quarter of an hour saw errors and penalties galore from both sides, til Melbourne really hit into gear giving another one of the departing a four pointer when Brett White scored a try, Cameron Smith maintained a perfect conversion rate giving Melbourne an insurmountable 20 point lead in the 70th minute.

Melbourne weren't done farewelling those departing, in the 73rd minute Adam Blair linked with Aiden Tolman to give him points in his last game for the club in the centre of the field.  Cameron Smith handed the kicking tee to Jeff Lima so he too could get in on points in his last game for the club, making no mistake from right in front.

The game's scoring ended how it began with a try to Greg Inglis, who scored his last try for the club in style, busting out of the clutches of Adam MacDougall and dashing for the line, scoring it wide out on the eastern touchline.  Ryan Hoffman was handed the kicking tee, but could not convert from that far out, Melbourne finishing 34 to 4 victors over the Newcastle Knights.

Match Details
Melbourne Storm 34 defeated Newcastle Knights 4
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 26 - Sunday September 5, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: AAMI Park
Referee: Ashley Klein and Gavin Morris
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Grant Atkins
Crowd: 20,517
Halftime: Melbourne Storm 12 Newcastle Knights 0

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Billy Slater
2 Points - Cameron Smith (4 Conversions)
1 Point - Zeb Taia (1 Try)

MELBOURNE STORM (34)
Tries: Ryan Hoffman, Greg Inglis (2), Brett White, Aiden Tolman, Ryan Hinchcliffe
Conversions: Ryan Hoffman (0/1), Cameron Smith (4/4), Jeff Lima (1/1)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (4)
Tries: Zeb Taia
Conversions: Wes Naiqama (0/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Afternoon and welcome to a packed AAMI Park, where the Newcastle Knights will take on the Melbourne Storm for the last game of what has been a horror season for the club. Melbourne farewelling several players here this afternoon, making this the last outing of the powerhouse Melbourne team of the past half decade, who for the first time in 5 years have their last game of the year in the first weekend of September rather than the first weekend of October.

Melbourne had an emphatic 46 – 16 victory in the Toyota Cup this afternoon.
TEAM NEWS: For the visitors, Junior Sau is out, Cooper Vuna will move into the centres, with his vacated wing spot to be filled by Kevin Naiqama on debut. One change for the home team, Brett Finch is out; he will be replaced by Luke Kelly.
1 min: Melbourne kick off and we are underway.
2 min: Newcastle forward pass, to surrender possession after making it to the Melbourne 20.
4 min: Sika Manu caught on the last tackle, forced to handover, Newcastle being given much of the attacking play in this game.
5 min: PENALTY to Melbourne off the back of a big Slater run, nice opportunity to attack here deep in Newcastle territory.
7 min: PENALTY on top of the first one, this one practically on the Newcastle line.
9 min: TRY
TRY to the Melbourne Storm, Greg Inglis forces his way over the tryline and Melbourne convert goal line pressure into points. Cameron Smith squeezes one through the posts.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
11 min: TRY
TRY number two to the Storm, that one came from nowhere, soft break out of dummy half from Cameron Smith and Ryan Hinchcliffe backs up and covers the 40 metres to the line easily. Conversion from Cameron Smith successful.
Melbourne Storm 12-0
12 min: Melbourne throw the ball out the sideline giving Newcastle a chance to attack 45 metres out from the Melbourne line.
13 min: Opportunity comes to nothing as Newcastle are pinged for a forward pass.
14 min: PENALTY against the Knights, giving Melbourne a set starting on the Newcastle 20 to add to the visitors' woes.
15 min: Newcastle are struggling to stop the Storm, but an error does.
16 min: Newcastle a little more inventive here, force a linedrop out. Injury concern for Hinchcliffe who goes off the field with a leg concern.
17 min: PENALTY to Newcastle for Melbourne offside.
18 min: PENALTY to Newcastle inches out from the Melbourne line, this one for a strip in a two man tackle.
VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Newcastle TRY.
19 min: NO TRY, ball ruled to have touched the sideline before it was grounded.
20 min: Double knock on, White ruled to be the first to drop it, handing the ball over to the Knights in good field position.
21 min: PENALTY to the Knights for a leg pull, ten metres out from the Melbourne line, great attacking opportunity for the visitors here.
22 min: PENALTY to the Storm for something in the tackle to get them out of their red zone.
24 min: Billy Slater goes to save a 40/20 but is ruled to have passed it forward where he scooped it up, to give Newcastle a scrum on the Melbourne 20 anyway.
25 min: Newcastle with back to back setsnow as Melbourne force the ball dead.
27 min: Melbourne force a drop out to keep pressure on the Knights.
28 min: A fortuidous bounce sees Newcastle reclaim the ball from the dropkick, despite it being a 40 metre kick.
29 min: PENALTY to the Knights for a high tackle from Dane Neilson, setting Knights in Melbourne territory.
30 min: Dureau spills it to let Melbourne off the hook, after some sustained pressure.
31 min: Melbourne force a drop out.
32 min: 60 metre drop out, this drop out again goes back to the Knights, but off the back of a forward pass to give Newcastle a scrum on the Melbourne 40.
34 min: The heavens have opened up and rain has arrived here at AAMI Park.
35 min: PENALTY to Melboune, but conditions get the better of the storm who knock on in the next play.
36 min: Taia drops the ball in these conditions to hand the ball over.
37 min: Melbourne lose the ball, inviting Newcastle to attack before the break.
38 min: Another unforced error from Melbourne, deep in their territory aks Newcastle to have a go at the Melbourne line.
39 min: Newcastle fail to capitalise on all their field position handing the ball back to Melbourne, to get out of their red zone.
40 min: PENALTY to the Knights with seconds left on the clock, but the play comes to nothing, handing the ball over to Melbourne to play with beyond the hooter, til the play and half ruled to be completed.
41 min: Newcastle have kicked off and the rains have ceased for the start of the second forty.
42 min: Almost a 40/20 for Cooper Cronk, but it goes out on the fly to give the Knights a scrum on the Melbourne 40.
43 min: A BIG HIT from Manu sees a ball pop out of Tolar's grasp.
45 min: Greg Inglis loses the ball into touch, for a Newcastle scrum.
46 min: Melbourne powering in defence here.
48 min: TRY
TRY to Newcastle. I spoke to soon, Kevin Naiqama gets a handed pass onto Zeb Taia who beats the defence to score on the touchline. Wes Naiqama less than half a metre in from touch fails to convert the Taia try
Melbourne Storm 12-4
49 min: Billy Slater takes an attempted 40/20 on the fly, Slater been absolutely brilliant here today.
50 min: PENALTY to the Storm, but they can't do anything with it after Norrie spills it on the first play.
51 min: PENNALTY to Melbourne for some Knights ill discipline from Ciraldo.
52 min: Ciraldo concedes another penalty, this for a high tackle on Slater, and has caused a bit of a melae.
VIDEO REFEREE for a possible Melbourne TRY.
54 min: TRY
TRY to Melbourne, bit of a bizarre movement for that try from Ryan Hoffman, but he eventally gets it down and video referee Phil Cooley awards it with a green light. Conversion from Cameron Smith successful.
Melbourne Storm 18-4
55 min: Dureau drops one about 25 metres out from his own line to invite Melbourne back in.
56 min: Newcastle let off the hook by a Melbourne error.
57 min: PENALTY to Melbourne for knees on a the tackled player.
59 min: Cameron Smith grubbers and it goes across the touchline to give Newcastle a scrum on their ten metre line.
60 min: Mark Taufua makes a nice break through the Melbourne line, but it comes to nothing as he can't find support and Newcastle spill the ball.
62 min: Newcastle starting to attack the Melbourne line with more creativity here, but the Melbourne defence is up to it.
63 min: Newcastle give away a penalty to make their task more difficult.
64 min: PENALTY to Newcastle for a Melbourne shephard.
66 min: Players dawdling to a srum here...
67 min: Melbourne pass called forward, woudl have been a certain try to Slater, but Newcastle given a scrum feed.
68 min: Cameron Ciraldo knocks forward a pass, to hand the ball back to Melbourne.
70 min: TRY
TRY to Melbourne, Brett White the third of Melbourne Storm's departing players to put down a four pointer today. Cameron Smith converts it.
Melbourne Storm 24-4
71 min: Newcastle come up with possession from a short kick off.
72 min: Con Mika drops the ball for Newcastle.
74 min: TRY
TRY to Melbourne. Adam Blair links with Aiden Tolman to give another departing player a try. Jeff Lima given the conversion from in front to put another one of the departing on the scoreboard.
Melbourne Storm 30-4
76 min: Akuila Uate forced in goal to give Melbourne a goal line dropout.
78 min: TRY
Inglis gets away from MacDougall and dashes in for his second of the match wide out on the Eastern side and probably last for the Storm. Ryan Hoffman given this conversion, but misses by a mile.
Melbourne Storm 34-4
79 min: Newcastle force a drop kick to give themselves last use of the football.
80 min: The hooter blows and it is all over for both sides for 2010. Melbourne take the game 34 points to 4.

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