2 days ago
Croft guides Storm to minor premiership
A hat-trick to Melbourne's Brodie Croft has helped the Storm to a 44-12 drubbing of the last place Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium, and in the process collect the J.J. Giltinan Shield for the second straight season.
Despite the final scoreline it wasn't all one way traffic, with the Knights first on the board through Lachlan Fitzgibbon after just five minutes. The joy was shortlived when Curtis Scott darted over in the ninth minute and from there the Storm plugged away, tries to Dale Finucane and the first of Croft's treble all coming before the break to provide a handy 16-6 lead at halftime.
Croft's second came the other side of the break, pushing the Storm further ahead before Joe Wardle kept things interesting for the home side at the 55 minute mark - but from there the newly minted minor premiers turned on the attacking flair.
Will Chambers broke Novocastrian hearts just minutes after Wardle's effort, and Croft's hat-trick four-pointer not long after wasn't all the scoring the Storm were keen for.
Suliasi Vunivalu and Nelson Asofa-Solomona added to the Knights' misery as the purple wave swept away the last realistic chance the home side had of shedding the wooden spoon.
The final two rounds see Newcastle travel to Canberra before hosting Cronulla while the Storm's finish the season with a fortnight of home games against South Sydney and Canberra, which will lead straight into a third straight AAMI Park match when they host a qualifying final in week one of the 2017 Finals Series.
Newcastle Knights 12 - Melbourne Storm 44
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 6 Melbourne Storm 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Brodie Croft
2 points - Cameron Smith
1 points - Dale Finucane
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (12)
Tries: Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Joe Wardle
Conversions: Trent Hodkinson (2/2)
MELBOURNE STORM (44)
Tries: Curtis Scott, Dale Finucane, Brodie Croft (3), William Chambers, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/7), Dale Finucane (1/1)