ROUND 18 Melbourne Storm 10 v Brisbane Broncos 4at Olympic Park, MelbourneCrowd: 15,479Referees: Sean HampsteadMatch Summary:The Melbourne Storm have clung on to a six point lead to claim an enjoyable 10-4 win over the Brisbane Broncos in front of 15,479 fans at Olympic Park in Melbourne. The Storm led 6-0 at half time.Cameron Smith opened the scoring in the eighth minute with his only goal of the night following a penalty for a supposed high tackle. At this time the Storm had to make an early and unexpected change with Antonio Kaufusi having to leave the field with a leg injury. He would make a return shortly afterwards however. Only three minutes after Kaufusi was forced off the field the news got worse for the Storm when Scott Hill was forced to leave the field with a sternum injury. Hill was surprisingly pronounced able to return to the field after half time, but he wasn?t needed as the halves pairing of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk were gelling particularly well. After 15 minutes Cameron Smith missed a tough penalty goal and the score remained 2-0. The game went from end to end with both teams having strong attacking opportunities, but it was a Broncos error that led to the first try after 28 minutes. Tonie Carroll knocked on and the ball ended up in Slaters hands. He set off and got around several defenders before the cover defence looked to have him wrapped up before he flicked a pass behind his back ? Benji Marshall style ? to a flying Steve Turner who raced away to score in the corner. The try was unconverted, and the Storm were up 6-0. Cooper Cronk almost made the Storm lead seven points, but he hit the crossbar with his field goal attempt on halftime.The second half was far sloppier than the first half. The Storm scored a decisive try 17 minutes into the half when Ryan Hoffman got the ball down out wide for a 10-0 lead. After this the Storm were almost constantly under pressure as they dropped the ball coming out of their own end plenty of times, as well as having fullback Billy Slater put under pressure. Brisbane winger Brent Tate was denied a try by the video referee after an hour, when he was knocked into touch before getting to the try line. The Broncos did score with seven minutes to go when Greg Eastwood benefited from some rare enterprising offloads from the Broncos. However the Broncos attack was largely nullified by the impressive Storm defence and the Storm comfortably held out late, desperate attack from the Broncos.The Storm go six points clear at the top of the ladder, at least temporarily. Next week they travel to EnergyAustralia Stadium to face the Knights, while the Broncos are assured of two points from the bye.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 10Tries: Ryan Hoffman, Steve TurnerGoals: Cameron Smith 1/4Brisbane Broncos: 4Tries: Greg EastwoodHalf time: 6-0 StormBy the Clock:Good evening from Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne. Tonights is a much anticipated top of the table clash between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos. The Storm cannot be knocked off the top tonight, but the Broncos can move to within two points of them. Very impressive looking crowd in tonight. It's raining.1 min: The Broncos kick off!7 min: The Broncos are penalised for a high shot, and Matt King is warned for running in for a little push and shove. Penalty goal attempt to come...8 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormCameron Smith lands the goal for the Broncos high tackle. Storm 2-08 min: INJURY - Antonio Kaufusi off with a knee injury.11 min: INJURY - Scott Hill in injured in backplay.11 min: The Broncos first attacking chance ends with a Tate grubber going dead. The Storm already down to 15.15 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormWebcke is penalised for interfering with the play the ball. Smith hooks the rather difficult shot. Storm 2-020 min: The Broncos lose the ball, but they are saved after a poor Slater kick on tackle two.22 min: Storm put up a bomb, it comes down to Boyd who makes a 50 metre run before he is dragged down by Slater. The Broncos pick up a penalty a few plays later.23 min: The Broncos pick up a line drop out after Geyer just manages to knock a kick dead.24 min: The Broncos go very close, and on the next play Hoffman comes up with a fingertip intercept.26 min: Kaufusi is back on for the Storm.28 min: TRY Melbourne StormA classic Storm try. The Broncos knock on at one end of the field. Slater picks it up and sets off, as the cover comes across to get him, he throws a Benji pass to Steve Turner who races away and scores in the corner. Smith misses the conversion. Storm 6-034 min: UPDATE - Scott Hill has had a painkiller, he's got a sternum injury, and may be back tonight. Highly unlikely though. He's doing pushups in the sheds though.36 min: Melbourne make a mistake 20 out from their own line. Sustained Broncos pressure.40 min: Minto takes a bomb and then runs over the sideline, the Storm get a scrum 15 out with 40 seconds to go. The Storm pick up a drop out with 20 seconds to go.40 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Melbourne StormCronk attempts a field goal, and he hits the crossbar. Storm 6-0We go to halftime with the Storm up 6-0. The Storm have won 11 out of 11 this year when leading at halftime.StatisticsPossession: 51-49%Completions: Storm 21/24 Broncos 16/22Tackles/Missed: Storm 189/22, Broncos 182/16Offloads: Broncos 4-3Errors: Broncos 6-341 min: The second half is underway!43 min: UPDATE - Scott Hill will be right to return to the field for the second half.50 min: Both sides making a few errors at the moment.51 min: INJURY - Lacey coming from the field, looking very groggy.54 min: The Broncos hold out a stong Storm attack.55 min: Seymour puts a kick out on the full.56 min: A Slater kick on the third tackle nets a line drop out.57 min: TRY Melbourne StormThe Storm send the ball wide on the last, and find Hoffman who scores out wide. Smith misses the conversion. Storm 10-061 min: Slater knocks a bomb on 10 out from the Storm line.61 min: Video ref for an unlikely Broncos try...61 min: NO TRY - BroncosTate nearly goes in in the corner, but Slater hits him and knocks him onto the sideline just short of the try line.62 min: Brisbane run across the sideline early in the tackle count.65 min: Geyer comes down claiming a try, but the Storm are ruled to have knocked on.67 min: Slater knocks a Broncos attacking kick into touch.68 min: The Storm shut the Broncos down on the last tackle.70 min: Again the Storm hold the Broncos out on the last tackle. The Storm are making a lot of errors coming out of thier own end.71 min: Storm defending very well, although they are putting themselves under pressure.73 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosWebcke breaks through, he offloads to Berrigan who offloads to Lockyer who throws a great pass out to Eastwood who scores in the corner. Parker misses. Storm 10-475 min: CROWD - 15,47978 min: Thaiday can't hold onto the ball on the last tackle bare metres out.79 min: The Storm clean up a Seymour chip kick.80 min: The Broncos get one play to spin the ball wide, but they knock the ball on.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Cameron Smith (Storm)2 - Billy Slater (Storm)1 - Ryan Hoffman (Storm)-----------------------------------------
SOME important clashes this weekend, as Superleague gets one match closer to the play-offs. Only nine games to go, and this is the crunch time of the season where good clubs stand up and bad clubs can fall ? all the way down to a lower division. Round 20, game on!
QUEENSLAND great Kevin Walters believes Darren Lockyer's command performance in the State of Origin win on Wednesday has settled the debate about whether the five-eighth should ever return to fullback.
PARRAMATTA centre Timana Tahu has vowed to salvage something from a nightmare NRL season after the NSW star was ruled out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury.Tahu damaged medial ligaments in his right knee in the dying minutes of the Blues' loss to Queensland on Wednesday and will have scans today to confirm the lengthy layoff. TAHU remains convinced the Eels can still make a charge at the NRL finals despite his absence and their lowly 14th position.Elsewhere, the Brisbane Broncos will decide today whether centre Brent Tate has recovered well enough from a knee injury to play in tonight's NRL game in Melbourne. The Storm is hoping for a crowd of more than 12,000 at Olympic Park for the match between the top two sides on the NRL ladder.Tate, one of the heroes of Queensland's victory over NSW on Wednesday, has a grade one medial ligament tear. If he can't play, he'll be replaced by Nick Emmett who impressed in his first-grade debut against Cronulla last week.
WITH the rep season having drawn to a spectacular finish on Wednesday night, we find ourselves entering the home stretch with the final 9 rounds of NRL action remaining. A few players may still have a bit of a hangover from Origin but that should be well and truly forgotten by next week.
A Stadium led recovery
PREVIEW notes and teams for Round 16 of the Queensland Wizard Cup.
DRAGONS Supporters, Whilst last night's Origin result would have been disappointing for any Blues fans, and very exciting for Queensland fans, it was certainly fantastic to have the pinnacle of League being played in our city. For anyone lucky enough to attend I think you'll agree the roof being closed created a great atmosphere and the NRL should look at playing more big matches there in future. This weeks match for the Dragons is against the Bunnies on Sunday. After having the bye last week the Dragons leap frogged the Sharks into third position on the NRL Ladder. With a couple of players backing up from Origin the Dragons will have to be on their game to ensure we take the 2 points. Our screening is back at the Grosvenor Hotel on Sunday at 6pm so SEE YOU THERE! WHAT: Dragons v RabbitohsWHEN: 6pm Sunday 9th JulyWHERE: Grosvenor Hotel, 10 Brighton Rd East St Kilda. GO THE DRAGONS!
BEAU Scott Returns to the DragonsThe St George Illawarra Dragons have today agreed to terms with former Dragon Beau Scott for three years, until the end of the 2009 season.Scott, 22, joined the Illawarra Steelers in 2003 and played in the Steelers Jersey Flegg team in 2003 and the Dragons Jersey Flegg and Premier League team in 2004.Last season Scott joined the Sharks and has since gone on to make his NRL debut and become a regular in first grade. Dragons Coach Nathan Brown views Scott as a versatile and talented player who will fit well with his structure for next season.?Beau Scott is a tough aggressive player who will be a welcomed addition to our Club next year,? said Dragons Coach Nathan Brown.?He is of a similar mould to Shaun Timmins, a centre with the necessary attributes to progress to the back row?.Caine Signs with Dragons for Two YearsThe Dragons have today agreed to terms with Tony Caine from the Sharks for two seasons, until the end of 2008.In his NRL debut match this season (Rnd 12 v Warriors), Caine suffered a serious season ending knee injury but Dragons Staff are confident that it will not impact upon his playing future.?Tony unfortunately suffered a severe injury this season that has kept him out of football but we don?t believe this will prevent him from playing rugby league andreaching his potential,? said Dragons Coach Nathan Brown.?Our recruitment staff and I have watched him over a number of years and we believe he is an exciting prospect?.Caine, 19, plays both halfback and hooker and will join his brother Jes who is currently on contract with the Dragons.?Unfortunately, because of injury, I won?t play again this season but I?m certainly keen to get back bigger and stronger than ever in 2007,? said Caine.
A thinner talent pool to choose from this week after three teams had the bye and Origin reps on duty. It hasn?t stopped us churning out a quality line-up though, with the Round 17 League Unlimited Team of the Week boasting plenty of try-scoring potential and more starch in the forward pack than a carton of Fabulon.
BRISBANE'S Brett Tate is likely to miss tomorrow night's showdown with leader Melbourne Storm after suffering a knee injury during Queensland's thrilling State of Origin series victory at Telstra Dome last night.
HARLEQUINS and Castleford Tigers have named their 20-man squads for the engage Super League encounter at Twickenham Stoop.
SALFORD City Reds and Hull FC have named their 20-man squads for the engage Super League clash at The Willows.
DANNY McGuire and Matt Diskin have been named in Leeds? 20-man squad for Friday?s clash with Bradford Bulls at Headingley Carnegie.
THE Wests Tigers have defeated the Parramatta Eels at Parramatta Stadium tonight by 18-2 renewing hope of scoring a top eight berth.