Ugly send-off drama as Storm outlast Raiders

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Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders

Corey Harawira-Naera is looking at a lengthy stint on the sidelines after being sent off for a high shot on Jahrome Hughes as the Raiders fell 26-16 to the Storm on Thursday night.

It was three tries apiece with ill-discipline the difference as Melbourne booted four penalty goals in the 10-point victory.

The win all but wraps up the minor premiership for the Storm, who already were two points ahead of the Panthers and Rabbitohs with three games remaining and have a superior points differential.

The defeat, meanwhile, leaves Canberra vulnerable in the race for a top-eight spot.

The Raiders, like any team facing the Storm, needed to make the most of their opportunities.

They did just that in the fourth minute as a cut-out pass from Jack Wighton put Bailey Simonsson over.

It would be their only points of the half though, with defensive lapses proving costly.

The Storm quickly hit back through Brandon Smith after the hooker dummied and raced through with ease at close range to score.

Poor attempts at tackle from Jarrod Croker and Jordan Rapana in particular then saw Dean Ieremia surge through for Melbourne's second.

The next try was the worst of the lot with Josh Hodgson and Joseph Tapine caught out ball-watching as Chris Lewis sliced through a gaping hole.

A penalty goal was Melbourne's only other points of the half but the Raiders almost struck back late, with Matt Timoko losing possession over the line.

The Raiders began the second half with the same vigour and this time executed perfectly, with Wighton putting Simonsson through once more to reduce the deficit to 10.

Canberra's lethal left-edge duo combined once more to well and truly set up a thrilling finish.

This time Melbourne's Ieremia let a Sam Williams bomb bounce and Wighton pounced before shifting it quickly to Simonsson.

Williams converted both tries from the sideline as the Raiders drew within four points before Melbourne kicked a penalty goal to make it a one-try lead.

Canberra was unable to strike late with the Storm instead slotting a couple of late penalty goals.

The Raiders face the Sea Eagles next week while the Storm take on the Titans.

Melbourne Storm 26 - Canberra Raiders 16

Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium
Crowd: 2523
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 20 Canberra Raiders 4

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Brandon Smith
2 points - Christian Welch
1 points - Jack Wighton

MELBOURNE STORM (26)
Tries: Brandon Smith, Dean Ieremia, Chris Lewis
Conversions: Nicholas Hynes (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Nicholas Hynes (1/1), Ryan Papenhuyzen (3/3)

CANBERRA RAIDERS (16)
Tries: Bailey Simonsson (3)
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (0/1), Sam Williams (2/2)


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