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Melbourne Storm 20 v New Zealand Warriors 24
at Olympic Park Melbourne
Referee: Tony Archer
The Warriors have claimed the upset of 2006 with a stunning 24-20 victory over the Melbourne Storm at Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne. The Storm had a narrow 14-12 half time lead.
The Storm were all over the Warriors early in the match, dominating both territory and possession. Matt Geyer opened the scoring in the 10th minute when he beat Manu Vatuvei to a cross field bomb. Five minutes later, totally against the run of play Simon Mannering gave the Warriors the lead after Brent Webb recovered his own kick and offloaded to Mannering. The conversion put the Warriors ahead 6-4. The Storm responded almost instantly after Vatuvei let a kickoff go into touch ? the first of three times he did it. Steve Turner dotted down in the corner and the Storm went up 8-6.
The Warriors took the lead again after 26 minutes with Manu Vatuvei scoring out wide off a Steve Price cut out pass. A few minutes later Brent Webb was controversially denied a try by the video referee. The Storm picked up a penalty and went down the other end of the field to score through Matt King. Lance Hohaia picked up a penalty goal for the Warriors right on half time for a 14-12 Storm lead.
The Warriors dominated the early stages of the second half, and scored through Brent Webb off a deflected kick seven minutes into the half. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Vatuvei let the kickoff go touch in goal. Off the resulting drop out Greg Inglis burned the Warriors defence to score and regain the Melbourne lead at 20-18.
The match then went through a period where the Storm looked quite dominant but were unable to finish as cleanly as they normally did. In the 73rd minute Manu Vatuvei broke out and put Brent Webb away for a try out wide. Hohaias sideline conversion put the Warriors up 24-20 with five minutes to go. Astonishingly Vatuvei let the ball go into touch again, but the Storm were unable to capitalise. A series of errors had the Storm defending their line as time ran out.
The Warriors look forward to their last home game of the season against the Roosters, and the Storm travel to Canberra to take on the Raiders.
Melbourne Storm: 20
Tries: Matt Geyer, Greg Inglis, Matt King, Steve Turner
Goals: Cameron Smith 2/4
New Zealand Warriors: 24
Tries: Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Brent Webb(2)
Goals: Lance Hohaia 4/5
By the Clock:
Good evening from Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne.
The Storm are looking to celebrate being officially crowned Minor Premiers. The Warriors are now officially out of the race for the eight.
Ready to go in front of a huge crowd at Olympic Park.
1 min: We are underway!
3 min: Storm make an early error trying to crack the Warriors out wide.
5 min: The Storm crack the Warriors out wide, a great intercept by Webb saves a certain try.
7 min: The Storm are looking very good tonight. Ah Van makes an impressive ingoal escape however.
8 min: Ah Van handling the pressure from the Storm kicking game so far.
10 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Cronk puts in a cross field kick for Geyer who has the step on Vatuvei, Geyer dots down out wide. Smith misses.
13 min: Storm hold all the territory and possession. Again Ah Van handles a Storm bomb and makes a 25 metre run.
15 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Webb kicks ahead, he recovers and offloads to Mannering who shrugs off Greg Inglis to score. Hohaia converts.
16 min: Vatuvei lets the kickoff go into touch. Storm scrum 10 out.
17 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
The Storm spread the ball wide to Turner who dots down in the corner. Smith misses again.
19 min: The Storm have complete territorial domination at the moment. Possession is slowly evening out.
21 min: Poor play from the Storm, Wiki pressures Smith and the Storm end up throwing the ball into touch. Louis Anderson comes up with a bad error one play later.
23 min: Warriors get a let off with the Storm trying to keep the ball alive it ends up getting picked up by Rovelli.
25 min: The Warriors have had one decent attacking opportunity so far. The Storm kick return and kick chase is superb.
26 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors second reasonable attacking opportunity. Steve Price throws an amazing cut out pass to Vatuvei who scores in the corner. Hohaia misses from touch.
30 min: VIDEO REF - For a Warriors try..
30 min: NO TRY - Warriors
Webb ruled to have knocked on trying to ground a kick. Could have been a benefit of the doubt try.
31 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Off the back of a penalty the Storm spin the ball to King who crashes over out wide. Smith converts.
35 min: Vatuvei goes in off a forward pass. Looked to be flat at worst.
37 min: Warriors get a line drop out.
39 min: Warriors get another line dropout. Great Storm defence.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand Warriors
Crossman penalised for a high tackle. Hohaia lands the goal.
Halftime in a very entertaining match.
40 min: Back underway at Olympic Park!
40 min: 40/20 - The Warriors pick up a 40/20 on the first set of the second half.
42 min: The Storm handle a fairly tame Warriors attacking set.
43 min: Lauaki penalised for a late hit on Cronk.
43 min: Hoffman crosses off a forward pass and the play gets called back.
47 min: VIDEO REF - For a Warriors try...
47 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Rovelli kicks, the ball deflects off a Storm player and Webb comes up with the ball and scores next to the uprights. Hohaia converts.
49 min: Vatuvei again totally stuffs receiving the kickoff and the Storm get a line dropout.
50 min: VIDEO REF - For a Storm try...
50 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Off the dropout, Inglis gets put into space and scores out wide. Smith converts.
54 min: Webb drops the ball with a try on.
56 min: Shots of a furious Craig Bellamy as the Storm drop the ball.
58 min: Warriors survive another Storm attacking set.
60 min: 20 minutes to go, the Storm are looking a little rusty, but the Warriors are rattling them.
62 min: The Storm starting to turn the screws. They aren't finishing too well yet, but the signs are there.
64 min: Hohaia drops the ball with a huge overlap for the Warriors.
67 min: Storm still defending very well.
68 min: King drops the ball on the last tackle with a possible try on.
70 min: Warriors kicking game just a little too long.
71 min: Gatis and Luck penalised for a 50/50 lifting tackle. Storm hot on attack.
73 min: Warriors hold out a Storm attacking set.
73 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Vatuvei breaks out, he draws the fullback and offloads to Webb who scores out wide. Hohaia puts the kick down the middle.
77 min: Warriors hold out after another kickoff error.
78 min: Hill loses the ball and the Warriors go on attack.
79 min: Inglis knocks on only several metres out.
The Warriors cause the upset of the season, defeating the Storm 24-20 at Olympic Park.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Grant Rovelli (Warriors)
2 - Brent Webb (Warriors)
1 - Greg Inglis (Storm)