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The Melbourne Storm have kept their winning streak alive with a a 12-6 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12-6 at AAMI Park in front of 14,912.
While the Storm did enough to claim their seventh straight victory, it was not all smooth sailing for the competition leaders.
The Bulldogs mounted pressure with three repeat sets early in the match. It was too much pressure for the Storm defence to absorb with Greg Eastward cracking the line open in the 14th minute. Steve Turner added the extras.
Neither teams were willing to chance their hand in the first half, with both sides opting for a conservative style of play.
Some quality possession for the Storm midway through the half was all the home side needed to get on the board. Ryan Hinchcliffe claimed their first try in the 25th minute before Cameron Smith added the extras to tie up scores.
Strong defence from both sides ensured the score remained unchanged for the rest of the half.
After the break, the Storm went on the attack early with Ryan Hoffman sending Garreth Widdop over for a try in 44th minute. Smith added the extras.
Josh Reynolds went close to scoring twice only to be held up before the line.
Melbourne Storm 12 defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 6
National Rugby League - Round 7 - Saturday April 14, 2012 5:30pm
Venue: AAMI Park
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Russell Turner
Halftime: Melbourne Storm 6 Canterbury Bulldogs 6
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cameron Smith (2 Conversions)
2 Points - Ryan Hinchcliffe (1 Try)
1 Point - Ryan Hoffman (1 Try)
MELBOURNE STORM (12)
Tries: Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe
Field Goals: Cooper Cronk (0/1)
Conversions: Cameron Smith (2/2)
CANTERBURY BULLDOGS (6)
Tries: Greg Eastwood
Conversions: Steve Turner (1/1)
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KICK OFF: 5:30PM
We are under 30 minutes from kick off at AAMI Park, Melbourne. We have the official team changes in for this match.
The Melbourne Storm sees Todd Lowrie ruled out with a quad injury, Anthony Quinn comes in. Ryan Hinchcliffe and Jason Ryles get a start in the side. Therefore a change to the side has the bench of Jessie Browmwich, Anthony Quinn, Siosaia Vave and Rory Kostjasyn.
Meanwhile for the Bulldogs a positional change. Greg Eastwood into the starting side in place of David Stagg who goes to the bench. Both sides on the park here at AAMI Park. The Bulldogs will get first use of the ball as the Storm will get us underway through the boot of Cameron Smith.
1 min: We have kick off and are underway
1 min: Good opening sets from both sides, no mistakes from either.
2 min: First penalty against Ryan Hinchcliffe and Jason Ryles from laying in the ruck too long. Chance for the Bulldogs to make their mark on the game. Full set 40 metres out from the line.
3 min: The Bulldogs not making the best use of the penalty at the Storm line, a simple grubber was collected easy. Storm get away and work it from their line.
5 min: Keating kicks downfield and it finds the touchline. Storm get and win a scrum feed on their own 10 metre line.
5 min: Penalty to the Storm as the Bulldogs broke too earlier from the scrum. A sneaky play from the Storm gets them good field position short of the halfway line.
6 min: Back to back penalties for the Storm. Big chance for the Storm as they attack 20 metres from the Bulldogs line.
7 min: Cooper Cronk opted for a crossfield kick to the corner as Justin O'Neill leapt high but missed it. Bulldogs escape without any points against them, scrum feed to them 10 metres from their line.
9 min: Second penalty to the Bulldogs for lacking in the ruck again, this time against Bryan Norrie. They attack 40 metres from the Storm line.
9 min: Keating kicking to the air but it beat Bryson Goodwin and the Storm come up with it on their goal line. A good position however lacked punch in attack at the line.
11 min: The Bulldogs tactical with their play at the line this time as Wright stab kicked it through. Michael Ennis in covering defence forces Cooper Cronk in goal. Bulldogs as a result earn a drop out.
13 min: Double knock on here. Melbourne with the first error against Justin O'Neill. Michael Ennis darting from dummy half cleaning up knocks on. So Scrum feed packs down for the Bulldogs. Pressure is mounting against the Storm, attacking 15 metres from the line.
15 min: TRY
After three sets on the Storm line, Greg Eastwood stuck to his line and cracked the line with a simple power try. The try is converted by Steve Turner.
Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
16 min: Bulldogs complete their set after the points, but the kick taken on the full by Billy Slater at the back.
19 min: Cameron Smith with a kick through the line and control things. Scrum feed to the Bulldogs on their 10 metre line. The front-rowers from the Bulldogs are winning the battle of the middle with the Storm unable to get through so far.
21 min: End to End stuff as Kris Keating kicked it down to the touchline and the Storm work it from their 10 metre line.
22 min: Cooper Cronk on the 3rd tackle kicking down to attempt to keep the Bulldogs deep in their half.
23 min: The Bulldogs not game to allow Billy Slater to run at the kick return. So Keating again sending it dead over the sideline to force the Storm to play it from a scrum feed 10 metres out.
23 min: Bulldogs looked for the second phase play as they offloaded the ball straight to Gareth Widdop. He looked to race away, but then he dropped it on contact with Ben Barba. However an ankle tap from Ryan Hinchcliffe forced a knock on. So after a interesting passage of play, the Storm have it from a scrum win 35 metres from the Bulldogs line.
27 min: TRY
After a load of pressure placed on the Storm, Ryan Hinchcliffe getting possession from a scrum feed on the Bulldogs half score. He reached for the line and planted it down. Cameron Smith converts for the Storm to lock the game at 6-all.
28 min: Penalty to the Storm, as Ryan Hoffman gets some repairs to his eye.
29 min: Mistake from the Bulldogs as they looked for an intercept, knock on the call. Scrum feed to the Storm on the Bulldogs 10 metre line.
31 min: Steve Turner had no option but to knock it dead after a nice grubber kick from Gareth Widdop. So the Storm earn a goal line drop out.
32 min: Cam Smith with a great kick through the line as Matt Duffie flew through looking for points, however the ball beat him over the line. Bulldogs not leaking points as they get a 20 minute tap.
34 min: Despite being in an attacking position, the Bulldogs through Keating again kicks it dead. Billy Slater is being kept right out of the play on the last. Scrum feed to the Storm on their 10 metre line.
35 min: Josh Morris on the end of a quick play of the ball from Michael Ennis broken through and brought to ground just short of the goal line. It was not no joy on the next play with the Storm coming up with the ball.
38 min: The Storm looked for a hole with a chip and chase, it didn't come off as the Bulldogs have the ball just inside the Storm's half.
39 min: Josh Reynolds racing through to try and get the ball and plant it down, however it beat him and Billy Slater dead. Storm get a 20 metre tap.
40 min: Siren sounds at AAMI Park has the game all locked up with the Storm and Bulldogs 6-all.
40 min: Second half is underway with the Storm getting first use of the footy.
41 min: Cooper Cronk kicked high in the air as Siosaia Vave and Ben Barba both contested the ball but Barba came off second best. Down but up without being penalised. Storm earn a drop out as a result of Barba getting a hand to the ball.
43 min: TRY
From the drop out, the pressure on the Bulldogs defence. Gareth Widdop supplied the double pump pass to the runner in Ryan Hoffman who busted through the line and scored. Smith adds the extras to the board to make a converted try difference.
Melbourne Storm 12-6
46 min: KNOCK ON! Jessie Browmwich looked to offload on the inside to the runner in Ryan Hinchcliffe but he knocked it down. Bulldogs will attack from a scrum feed only 30 metres out.
48 min: Good goal line defence from the Storm, however in the attempt to get away the Bulldogs force Widdop back in goals and earn a drop out.
48 min: Video Referee Decision Pending for Bryson Goodwin
48 min: NO TRY! Goodwin was ruled to have knocked on, Storm escape and get the ball back with a 20 metre tap.
51 min: Smith with a great kick downfield with Cooper Cronk racing through looking for points. The ball just beating him over the dead ball line. Bulldogs as a result get a 20 metre tap.
53 min: Penalty to the Bulldogs for some back chat from the Storm. Billy Slater made the error by putting the ball on the feet of the Bulldogs, knock on the call. However Slater sprayed the referee and therefore gave away a penalty.
54 min: Another penalty for the Bulldogs with the Storm ruled offside on the goal line. They attack 20 metres from the line.
54 min: KNOCK ON! Great defence from the Storm on their line. Frank Pritchard losing it in the tackle and give up the ball to the Storm.
57 min: The Storm making the break with Cooper Cronk in support however Bryson Goodwin in covering defence saved the day. Bulldogs very lucky not to concede points.
61 min: Forward pass the call against Anthony Quinn who is fresh on the field. A mistake from the Storm gives up the ball to the Bulldogs. Scrum to pack down just inside the Storm's half.
63 min: Bulldogs with great pressure forced a weak kick from Smith, from his 40 metre line it was taken on the Bulldogs 40 by Goodwin
64 min: Josh Reynolds oh so close to the line, he collided with the pads on the uprights but the referees deemed him short. On the last play a poor grubber kick gives the Bulldogs a repeat set however with the Storm getting trapped.
65 min: Justin O'Neill quickly out of the line to take the lose ball and the Storm escape the pressure from the Bulldogs
66 min: Steve Turner had to play at the ball and he knocked it over the sideline to stop the Storm scoring. However the Storm get the ball with a scrum feed 20 metres out.
67 min: Video Referee Decision Pending for the Storm's Jason Ryles.
67 min: NO TRY! Jason Ryles ruled to have knocked on short of the line and no try the call. Bulldogs as a result get a scrum feed 10 metres from the line.
70 min: KNOCK ON! Matt Duffie looked to have the ball covered easily at the back, however he lost control of it with only his fingertips coming in contact. Bulldogs get a repeat set with a drop out.
71 min: Josh Reynolds again so close to the line, but the Storm defence holding him out. Still two plays for the Bulldogs on the goal line
72 min: The Storm's defence too good, Billy Slater jumped out of the line and grabbed the kick. Bulldogs lack communication at the moment.
73 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Cooper Cronk with a massive attempt at field goal from 47 metres out just missed the posts. the Storm looked to extend, but the Bulldogs get a 20 metre tap.
Melbourne Storm 12-6
74 min: Bulldogs with a penalty now march them up field and a chance to lock it up inside the Storm 10 metre line.
75 min: KNOCK ON! The Bulldogs again going to their forwards to try and bust through the line, but this time Kasiano running onto the ball dropped it. Storm with five minutes to go have a scrum feed 10 metres from their line.
75 min: That is the second scrum penalty tonight against the Bulldogs, they failed to pack it properly. Storm should hold on, but another can happen.
76 min: Penalty against the Bulldog again, Sam Kasiano with a strip. Chance to close to the game out with a full set 30 metres from the Bulldogs line.
77 min: The Storm getting over the line but the held up and a change over on the 10 metre line. Bulldogs not out of this yet, they need to go 90 metres in this set.
Official Crowd tonight at AAMI Park is 14,912
79 min: KNOCK ON! The Covering defence on song as the Storm pushed up and forced Bryson Goodwin into touch as he dropped the Ball. The Storm have a change over on their 10 metre line.
80 min: Full time at AAMI Park has Melbourne Storm 12 defeat the Bulldogs 6.