Rugby League

Storm hold off Knights to secure top spot

June 9, 2024 6:20 pm

[Source: NRL]

The Storm have continued their 2024 dominance with a hard-fought 36-28 win over the Knights at AAMI Park.

With Maroons duo Harry Grant and Xavier Coates backing up from Wednesday’s Origin win and Tyran Wishart stepping up in place of injured star Cameron Munster, Melbourne rebounded from their Round 12 loss to secure top spot on the competition ladder.

Both sides traded sets in the opening 15 minutes before Newcastle had the first opportunity to post points however debutant Fletcher Sharpe fumbled the ball over the line after some excellent cover defence.

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Melbourne marched downfield on the next set and centre Nick Meaney sliced through defenders from close range to open the scoreboard 6-0.

The Knights hit back in the 21st minute when Jackson Hastings picked up a stray Storm pass and found Dylan Lucas in support who skipped inside and raced under the posts to score.

Melbourne had a golden opportunity when they were gifted several opportunities on the line but the visitors dug deep for four consecutive sets to keep their tryline intact.

A penalty against Eliesa Katoa for slowing up the ruck then gave Newcastle ideal field position and rookie Sharpe capitalised, bursting into space thanks to a sweet pass from Jack Cogger.

Looking like they would head to the sheds down by six, prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona came up with a huge play in the 39th minute, offloading out the back for Grant who tipped onto Hughes to crash over the line and tie things up 12-12.

In the last play of the half, the Storm made it two tries in 90 seconds when Hughes sent the ball down the short side and Grant Anderson found space on the right edge before kicking back inside for Meaney to score and take a six-point lead into the sheds.

A mistake by Nelson Asofa-Solomona coming out of his own end invited Newcastle into the red zone early in the second half and Kai Pearce-Paul came up with a crafty offload from the ground to send Lucas over for a double.

Six minutes later fill-in five-eighth Wishart came up with a response, stepping past Tyson Frizell and darting over from close range.

With 15 minutes to play the Storm grabbed some breathing space when Wishart put Coates over in the left hand corner with a perfectly weighted cutout pass. Meaney couldn’t land the conversion but Storm had a 28-16 lead.

Wishart continued his stellar second half when he crossed for a double in the 60th minute thanks to some nice lead up work from Meaney and Anderson on the right.

Come the 66th minute and Dane Gagai came up with an important four-pointer for the Knights, bursting into space thanks to some quick hands from Jack Cogger.

The Knights ensured a grandstand finish when Hastings sent a perfectly weighted chip over for Enari Tuala to score in the corner to reduce the deficit 34-28 but the game was won when Frizell was sent to the sin bin in the 79th minute and Melbourne sealed the victory with a penalty goal.