Storm outlast gallant Tigers

THE Melbourne Storm were pushed all the way but their class eventually shone through in a 26-12 victory over a gallant Wests Tigers side in front of 18866 fans at AAMI Park.

The Storm didn’t hit the front until the 66th minute when halfback Cooper Cronk started and finished a movement down the right side with hooker Cameron Smith having a hand in the original play before Chambers burst down the sideline to find Cronk back in support.

The Storm started the match as red-hot favourites but in a weekend of so-called upsets it was the Tigers who started the match the better with a specific game plan which included quick play-the-balls and plenty of offloads. Hooker Robbie Farah kicked to the corners to negate Billy Slater’s impact and the Tigers defence which has been suspect already in 2013 was up to the task throughout the opening 40 minutes.

The opening half was a stop-start affair punctuated by penalties which ensured Melbourne couldn’t get into their methodical game plan. The Tigers opened the scoring after 16 minutes on the back of a dubious refereeing decision after it appeared Bodene Thompson took Storm five-eighth Gareth Widdop out after a kick which may be scrutinised by the match review committee. Billy Slater won the race to the ball and forced a dropout but was ruled offside and the visitors advanced the ball downfield. Early in the tackle count Farah was at it again out of dummy half and his perfectly weighted grubber into the in-goal was grounded by winger James Tedesco to give his side an unlikely 4-0 lead.

The Tigers defence continued to muscle up throughout the remainder of the half as the Storm threw everything they had at them but appeared incapable of finding a way through. Braith Anasta added a penalty goal in the 33rd minute before the amount of tackling the Tigers had done eventually took its toll in the shadows of halftime. Storm hooker Cameron Smith turned prop Siosaia Vave back on the inside where he muscled his way into the in-goal. Smith added the extras to send both sides to the break at 6-all.

The Tigers extended their lead back out to a converted try in the 50th minute although luck played a part in Benji Marshall’s try. Robbie Farah hooked a cross-field kick back towards Mahe Fonua who spilt the ball before Ben Murdoch-Masila threw a perfect around-the-corner pass to his five-eighth.
Fonua redeemed himself in the 63rd minute when he finished off a typical Melbourne Storm try. Cronk, Smith and Slater combined with successive second-man plays before the fullback found his winger who scored out wide. Smith added the extras from out wide and from there it was all one-way traffic.

Further tries to Cronk and Waqa ensured the Storm started the season with a 5-0 win-loss record and sets up a mouthwatering clash with South Sydney at ANZ Stadium next Saturday night.

The Tigers will have to regroup and prepare to face the Dragons at the SCG next Sunday.

Match Details
Melbourne Storm 26 Wests Tigers 12
Venue: Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
Crowd: 18,866
Halftime Score: 6-all Players of the Match:
3 points - Cooper Cronk
2 points - Cameron Smith
1 point - Robbie Farah

Tries: Siosaia Vave, Mahe Fonua, Cooper Cronk, Sisa Waqa
Conversions: Cameron Smith (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Gareth Widdop (1/1)

Tries: James Tedesco, Benji Marshall
Conversions: Braith Anasta (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Braith Anasta (1/1) Live Commentary

Team news from the Tigers - Liam Fulton is out. Matt Bell starts while Sitaleki Akauola is added to the bench. Kick-off scheduled for a little after 7pm.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Matt Duffie 3. Will Chambers 4. Tafeaga Junior Sa'u 5. Mahe Fonua 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Tohu Harris 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe

Interchange: 14. Jason Ryles 15. Lagi Setu16. Siosaia Vave 17. Kevin Proctor 18. Slade Griffin 19. Junior Moors

Tigers: 1. Tim Moltzen 2. Joel Reddy. 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Chris Lawrence 5. James Tedesco 6. Benji Marshall 7. Braith Anasta 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. Jack Buchanan 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Liam Fulton 13. Adam Blair
Interchange: 14. Ben Murdoch Masila 15. Ava Seumanufagai 16. Matt Bell 17. Eddy Pettybourne
Good evening footy fans and welcome to the penultimate match in Round 5 of the Telstra Premiership coming to you live from AAMI Park in Melbourne. Team news just filtering through out of the Storm camp and winger Matt Duffie is out. He will be replaced by Sisa Waqa, while Kenny Bromwich makes his debut off the bench.
Just waiting to see if Tigers coach Mick Potter has any changes to the side he named last Tuesday. Once they come through, you will be first to know. The Storm have won the toss and will kickoff.
Fulltime in the Holden Cup and the Storm 24 have defeated the Tigers 14.
1 min: Cam Smith gets us underway and the Tigers will have first use of the ball, defending the northern end of AAMI Park.
1 min: Mistake free opening from the Tigers and Waqa takes Anasta's kick and is tackled on the 10m line.
1 min: Bromwich and Hinchcliffe combine before Widdop knocks on. Tigers scrum.
4 min: Farah's cross-field kick is spilt by Fonua, but Slater picks up the scraps and is tackled in-goal. Storm dropout.
5 min: PENALTY Tigers. Junior Sa'u caught offside as Thompson went down the short side.
6 min: Marshall's cut-out pass meant for Ayshford is knocked on by the centre. Storm to feed a scrum.
7 min: Moltzen knocks on a floating Cronk bomb and the Storm will go on the attack after feeding a 10m scrum.
8 min: PENALTY Storm. Marshall hits Sa'u in a high tackle off the scrum.
9 min: PENALTY Storm. Woods too slow to get off the tackled player.
9 min: Smith grubbers into the in-goal. Moltzen forces it. Tigers dropout.
11 min: Quality defence from the Tigers forces a dropped ball from Hoffman.
12 min: Farah kicks to the corner and the Storm will feed a scrum 10m from their own line.
14 min: PENALTY Tigers. Slater allows the bomb to bounce but is ruled to have taken Anasta out. Possibly a tough call against the home side.
15 min: Marshall grubbers for Reddy but the ball beats him and Slater across the touch in-goal line. Storm restart.
16 min: PENALTY Tigers. Slater ruled to have been in front of Widdop after it appeared he was taken out by Thompson. Another tough call against the Storm.
Scored by James Tedesco. Conversion attempt by Braith Anasta unsuccessful.

Tedesco scores the first points tonight! A classy piece of play from Farah saw him trickle the ball into the in-goal and the winger won the race to the ball to open his sides account. Anasta misses from out wide.
Wests Tigers 4-0
20 min: Moltzen again allows Cronk's floating bomb to bounce and the ball is batted back by Slater but into the arms of Buchanan for the Tigers.
21 min: PENALTY Storm. Slater not allowed to get a quick play-the-ball.
22 min: Bromwich knocks on. Tigers scrum.
23 min: Marshall finds touch 1m from the Storm corner post. Storm scrum.
24 min: Smith attempts a 40/20 but Reddy is back in time before Cronk leads the chase and makes the tackle.
26 min: Smith's kick is charged down and Fonua goes on a 30m run before being knocked over 10m from the Tigers line.
27 min: PENALTY Storm. Tigers high tackle on Ryles.
27 min: PENALTY Storm. Slater not allowed to get up quickly. Successive penalties warrants an official warning from the referees to Farah.
28 min: Some more top-line Tigers defence repels the Storm and Reddy takes the cross-field kick.
28 min: PENALTY Tigers. Storm slowing the play-the-ball down.
31 min: Another error from the Storm and the Tigers go on the attack.
32 min: PENALTY Tigers. Hinchcliffe walks back through the ruck.
Penalty goal attempt by Braith Anasta successful.

Anasta adds the two from in front to put the Tigers out by a converted try.
Wests Tigers 6-0
35 min: Cronk kicks for Widdop but Moltzen is back to save the day for the Tigers.
36 min: PENALTY Storm. Woods with a hand in the ruck.
37 min: Widdop puts the ball into the in-goal and Reddy forces it for a dropout.
38 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Storm try.
Scored by Siosaia Vave. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.

Vave crashes over next to the posts to score the Storm's first try of the night and finally the home side get through a determined Tigers defence. Smith adds the extras from beside the posts.
6 all
40 min: Halftime in Melbourne and the home side and the Tigers are locked at 6-all in an absorbing Monday night encounter.
41 min: Second half is underway and the Storm get first possession.
42 min: Double knock on. Tedesco first, Chambers second. Storm scrum.
43 min: PENALTY Storm. Blair with a push.
43 min: Smith takes the tap quickly and is held up.
43 min: Vave drops the ball on the second tackle. Tigers breathe easy.
44 min: PENALTY Tigers. Storm not back the 10.
45 min: Waqa knocks Anasta's kick on before Farah is thrown over the sideline. Tigers scrum 10m from Storm line.
46 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Tigers try.
46 min: No Try. PENALTY Storm. Tigers ruled to have taken a Storm player out in the wrestle to get the ball down.
47 min: Moltzen takes Cronk's floating bomb amongst the seagulls.
48 min: PENALTY Tigers. Storm offside.
49 min: Fonua gets a touch on Marshall's wayward pass and the Tigers get six again.
50 min: Pettybourne is hit in a solid tackle from Vave and puts the ball down. Storm scrum.
51 min: Widdop is thrown over the sideline on the first tackle and the Tigers again go on the attack.
Scored by Benji Marshall. Conversion attempt by Braith Anasta successful.

Marshall scores out wide to put the Tigers back in front! Farah's kick was hooked back towards Fonua who was out leapt by Reddy before the pass from Murdoch-Masila to Marshall was ruled to have been ok. Anasta adds the extras from the sideline.
Wests Tigers 12-6
56 min: Waqa heads down the sideline and throws the ball back on the inside before Blair touches the ball as it goes in touch. Storm scrum.
57 min: PENALTY Storm. Robbie Farah ruled to have his hand on the ball.
58 min: Slater knocks on Widdop's kick in the in-goal. Tigers 20m restart.
59 min: Fonua takes Farah's kick in the in-goal. Storm 20m restart.
60 min: PENALTY Storm. Woods not square at marker.
60 min: PENALTY Storm. Blair penalised for a leg twist and placed on report.
Scored by Mahe Fonua. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
The Storm work it through the hands and it's a TRY! Fonua scores in the corner, Smith converts and we're all square!
12 all
Scored by Cooper Cronk. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
And just like that the Storm are flexing their muscle! They bust through the Tigers defence inside their own half and Cronk is there in support, he gets the ball and scores. Smith converts.
Melbourne Storm 18-12
Scored by Sisa Waqa. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.

Waqa makes it extremely difficult for the Tigers after he goes through some soft Tigers defence after Slater floated a pass over the top. Smith adds the extras from out wide to extend the lead to 12.
Melbourne Storm 24-12
77 min: PENALTY Storm. Akauola is ruled to have hit Hinchcliffe in the head. Widdop lines up a penalty goal attempt.
Penalty goal attempt by Gareth Widdop successful.

Widdop adds the extra two from in front and the Storm will make it five successive victories to start 2013.
Melbourne Storm 26-12
80 min: Fulltime at AAMI Park and the Storm have run out 26-12 victors over a gallant Wests Tigers.