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Melbourne Storm have continued their incredible round one record with an 18-4 win over the Manly Sea Eagles at Lottoland.
The two sides started this one out in a scrappy fashion, with errors quite prominent. The first half was what you would expect from the "Battle of Brookvale", with some tough and dogged defence, as both sides struggled to put it together in attack.
First points of the afternoon came through the Storm captain Cameron Smith, as he drilled a penalty goal to take his team to a two point lead. Still, the game couldn't be broken open in terms of try scoring, despite some enterprising attacking play from both sides. Defence seemed to prevail and there was a lack of polish on the end of plays, as neither side were able to finish off their chances.
Sharpshooter Reuben Garrick nailed two penalty goals, one from each side of the posts prior to halftime. That was as far as the scoring went in the first half, as Manly went into the break with a 4-2 lead.
The second half started off in similar fashion, however it started to feel as though the Storm were gaining the ascendency of the game.
Finally, after more than sixty minutes of game play, the game was broken open. A clever kick from Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes travelled over the head of Manly winger Jorge Taufua and found Suliasi Vunivalu for the first try of the afternoon.
The rain began to fall at Lottoland and so did Manly's chances of winning the contest. A similar play only moments later from Jahrome Hughes saw Vunivalu score back-to-back tries, despite a questionable grounding from the Fijian. Cameron Smith nailed his second consecutive goal from the sideline and it appeared as though this game was becoming out of reach for the Sea Eagles.
Tom Eisenhuth also scored late and the Storm did what they did best in this game and simply gave their opponents no chance. The final score was 4-18 to the Storm.
Handling errors and perhaps a bit of round one rust cost the Sea Eagles in this one and they were frustrated by the Melbourne defence.
The Storm were very clinical and choked Manly out of this one, despite not being at their best.
A key takaway for Melbourne - they've continued their round one winning ways, having not been beaten in the first round since 2001. Manly have a tough game in Gosford next week, taking on the reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters in Gosford. The Storm will take on Cronulla at Kogarah.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 4 - Melbourne Storm 18
Halftime Score: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 4 Melbourne Storm 2
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cameron Smith
2 points - Jahrome Hughes
1 points - Jake Trbojevic
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (4)
Penalty Goals: Reuben Garrick (2/2)
MELBOURNE STORM (18)
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu (2), Tom Eisenhuth
Conversions: Cameron Smith (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (1/1)