Rugby League

Storm hammer Warriors to remain atop ladder

June 16, 2024 6:55 am

[Source: NRL]

The Storm have continued their long-standing dominance over the Warriors after overcoming an early deficit to record a comprehensive 38-24 win in Auckland.

While there was plenty of drama to come later in the contest, the ladder-leaders set themselves up for their 16th-straight victory over the Kiwi side with a gritty defensive showing through an opening quarter in which next to nothing went their way.

Having hit the 13th minute mark with just eight percent of the possession and 68 completed tackles to their opponents’ eight, Melbourne would have taken heart from being down only 8-0, and by half-time they’d fought back to lead 20-4.

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After Adam Pompey bowled over from close range and the Warriors added a penalty goal, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad popped a no-look flick pass behind his back to find an unmarked Marcelo Montoya in the corner.

But when finally given the chance to get off their own line, the Storm took immediate advantage, with Eliesa Katoa taking the ball from the grasp of Pompey on a kick defusal and falling over the line, before Grant Anderson finished athletically in the corner.

Katoa was at the heart of the action again minutes later after he streamed through a gap and linked with a supporting Nick Meaney.

A miraculous goal-line intervention from Trent Loiero and Sua Faalogo denied the Warriors first points after the break, as they held up a rampaging Marata Niukore, but there was no stopping Mitchell Barnett a couple of minutes later.

That try however would be the last of the celebrating the Warriors did for a while, with Montoya’s sin-binning for a professional foul coinciding with Faalogo’s try to stretch the lead, before he was joined in the bin by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak after he was pinged for a dangerous tackle.

By the time Xavier Coates got over for Melbourne’s sixth with 17 minutes to play, the energy had well and truly been zapped from the capacity crowd of 24,495 at Go Media Stadium.

Montoya grabbed his double with five to play, but it was too little too late to prevent the Warriors suffering their first defeat in a month, with Faalogo carving the hosts open for a four-pointer that put the icing on the cake with a minute to spare.