DRAG(O)N A COWBOY | The St George-Illawarra Dragons have claimed a narrow win over the reigning prem...
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The Sea Eagles were always going to do it tough when Albert Torrens was sent off early following a high tackle on Melbourne fullback Billy Slater.
With Slater in full flight, Torrens delivered a classic coat-hanger in the 10th minute. Slater was quick to get back on his feet but referee Paul Simpkins had no option but to give Torrens his marching orders.
The Storm scored soon after but were unable to break through again until late in the first half when they scored two more tries. At half time, Melbourne held a handy 16-0 lead.
In the 49th minute, Marcus Bai playing his last game in Melbourne, scored a popular try after being set up by halfback Matt Orford.
The Storm went further ahead when Steven Bell scored on the back of Kirk Reynoldson break to put the home side up by 28-0.
Manly finally got on the board through Ben MacDougall but it was a short-lived revival with Melbourne running in two more tries against the tiring Sea Eagles defence.
With Melbourne well in front and looking forward to the finals, Scott Donald raced down the flank in the 78th minute to score Manly's final try for 2003.
STORM 40 Tries: Geyer 2, Moala, King, Bai, Bell, Williams Goals: Orford 4/5, Bai 1/1, Sargent 1/1 defeated SEA EAGLES 10 Tries: MacDougall, Donald Goals: Ferris 1/1, Haumono 0/1
Saturday 6 September 2003 7:30 PM Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: Paul Simpkins Video Referee: Graeme West
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - K Reynoldson (Storm) 2 - M Orford (Storm) 1 - M Geyer (Storm)
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff! The final home game for Storm's Marcus Bai and Mitchell Sargent.
5 min: No score as yet. Melbourne getting the early advantage and came close to converting it into points.
10 min: NEWS - Albert Torrens (Sea Eagles) SENT OFF after delivering a coat-hanger to a flying Billy Slater mid-field. Slater straight back on his feet but the ref had no choice other than to give Torrens an early shower.
12 min: TRY - Storm. Fifita Moala scores out wide with the Manly right flank defence being caught short. Conversion Matt Orford is hooked and unsuccessful. Storm 4-0
25 min: Still 4-0 to the Storm. Manly defending well with 12 men and Melbourne letting themselves down with some ordinary handling errors.
31 min: TRY - Storm. Matt King runs 8 metres untouched to score his first NRL try after pulling down a high Orford bomb. Orford's conversion from in front is successful. Storm 10-0
38 min: TRY - Storm. Matt Geyer scores under the posts after Orford puts him into a hole. A simple play... Manly just running out of numbers. Matt Orford conversion is successful and he now has 600 career points. Storm 16-0
HALF TIME: Storm playing against 12 men could be leading by more if not for some scrambling Manly defence and a few too many Melbourne handling errors. Nevertheless, two late tries in the first half is an indication of things to come as the Sea Eagles are tiring. Possession is dead even at 50% each. The Sea Eagles have missed 15 tackles to Storm's 3, which is understandable.
Second half is underway...
49 min: TRY - Storm. Marcus Bai scores a crowd-pleaser 10m in from touch. Set up by Orford who switched play and then put on a cut-out pass to Bai. Conversion Orford is successful. Storm 22-0
53 min: TRY - Storm. Steven Bell scores 15m from posts after a 70m movement which saw forward Kirk Reynoldson make a tremendous bust through the line. Conversion Orford. Storm 28-0
56 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Ben MacDougall scores after video ref rules that the ball was forced successfully. A little dodgy but it's a try and Storm should look at the sloppy attempt at retrieval work from their fullback Slater. Conversion Jason Ferris from 15m wide is successful. Storm 28-6
64 min: NO TRY - Kevin McGuiness (Sea Eagles) is unable to pick up rolling ball in the in-goal and fumbles. Once again, no fullback at home. Manly stepping the pace while the Storm seem to have gone off the boil.
65 min: NEWS - Peter Robinson (Storm) limps off the field with an ankle injury and will take no futher part. Glen Turner (Storm) with concussion wil also take no further part.
67 min: TRY - Storm. From the scrum, Matt Geyer gets a double after he races through a huge gap from 35m out. Conversion from in front for Marcus Bai is successful and kicks his first ever NRL goal, much to the delight of the home crowd. Storm 34-6
75 min: TRY - Storm. Danny Williams forces his way over. Mitchell Sargent is handed the kicking duties and is successful. Storm 40-6
78 min: TRY - Sea Eagles. Scott Donald scores out wide after Jason Ferris sets up play. Conversion attempt from Solomon Haumono is pushed wide. Storm 40-10
FULL TIME. Emotional scenes as Marcus Bai does a lap of honour with his teams mates sporting Marcus Bai T-Shirts.