Smith spearheads Melbourne’s return to form in win over Newcastle

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Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm

Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster have combined to reignite the spark in the Melbourne Storm attack to secure a 26-12 win over the Newcastle Knights at Central Coast Stadium.

Melbourne got off to a quality start as they built up an 18-2 lead by half-time with tries to Ryley Jacks (3rd minute), Suliasi Vunivalu (24th minute) and Tino Faasuamaleaui (34th minute), of which two were assisted by Cameron Smith.

The Knights were able to reduce their errors at the start of the second half and scored tries through Bradman Best (53rd minute) and Edrick Lee (61st minute) to get themselves only six points behind in the final quarter of the match.

With Newcastle rallying in the final 10 minutes, the Storm were able to put the Knights away with a penalty goal and an inspirational solo Brandon Smith try.

Newcastle appeared to be hard done by late when trailing by six, as they received a penalty while defending on their tryline. However, the play was brought back a few seconds to penalise contact with David Klemmer on Dale Finuncane which was incidental.

Melbourne was then able to set up for a penalty goal which gave the away side an eight-point buffer with less than five minutes to go.

In the third minute Munster ran the ball on the last through the short side and once the ball got to Addo-Carr allowed the winger kicked in-field for replacement halfback Ryley Jacks to surprise everyone by beating the well positioned Herman Ese'ese to ground the ball.

Then Cameron Smith laid on two try-assists from dummy-half which made the Storm's attack look slick once more.

A 15-metre pass from the play-the-ball to Vunivalu's wing set the winger up to beat one defender and another sliding tackler at the corner for a four-pointer.

Next time Cameron Smith ran diagonally out of dummy-half to link up with Faasuamaleaui to crash over for his first NRL try.

Against his old team Kurt Mann used a grubber on a six-again penalty to set Best up for his fifth try, during his third game of the season, to mark the first points of the second half.

Six minutes later and the Knights were in again through a diving Edrick Lee that left him with noticeable pain in the ribs inflicted by the cover defence.

The last try through Brandon Smith was a man on a mission to drag defender after defender just far enough to plant the ball on the tryline.

Newcastle had stand out efforts from Daniel Saifiti (158 metres, 39 tackles) and Kalyn Ponga (10 tackle breaks) but they weren't able to run Melbourne down. 

The win for the Storm sees them overtake the Knights into second spot on the ladder, with Newcastle dropping down to third. Cameron Smith was five-from-five on conversion kicks. Newcastle has not beaten Melbourne since 2015.

Next week the Knights host the Brisbane Broncos on Thursday night at Central Coast Stadium and the Storm head to Campbelltown Stadium for a Friday night clash with the Penrith Panthers.

Newcastle Knights 12 - Melbourne Storm 26

Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Crowd: 194
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 2 Melbourne Storm 18 Players of the Match:
3 points - Cameron Smith
2 points - Cameron Munster
1 points - Daniel Saifiti

Tries: Bradman Best, Edrick Lee
Field Goals:
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Kalyn Ponga (1/1)

Tries: Ryley Jacks, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, Brandon Smith, Suliasi Vunivalu
Field Goals:
Conversions: Cameron Smith (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (1/1)

See how it happened in our Match Centre