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Storm curse Manly - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 09 Aug 2008 10:11:00 GMT
Melbourne’s campaign to secure back-to-back minor premierships received a big boost after downing Manly 16-10 in their first win at Brookvale Oval since 1999.
The victory puts the reigning premiers on equal competition points with the Sea Eagles with four rounds remaining in the regular season to determine who takes out the game’s second best crowning achievement.
It's the third time in a row the Storm has now beaten the Sea Eagles, including last year's 34-8 grand final victory, and the psychological scars inflicted on the Manly players may be significant come finals time.
Most of the 18,422 fans in attendance missed the home side’s only win of the weekend with the Sea Eagles trouncing arch-rivals North Sydney 24-14 in the NSW State Cup.
From the opening whistle it was tough, brutal, uncompromising football, and when Melbourne's Michael Crocker and Manly's Brent Kite came to blows in the opening minutes, the stage was set for a classic encounter.
While both forward packs were trying to bash each other into submission, it was the sublime skills of Storm fullback Billy Slater that allowed Melbourne to score their two first-half tries.
His support play on the inside of halfback Cooper Cronk, who hit the flying fullback with a laser-like ball on the chest, and offload to Matt Geyer got the Storm off to the perfect start in the eighth minute.
A clever chip by Cronk over the Manly defence in the dying minutes of the first-half saw Slater gather a bobbling ball he had no right to, before drawing the defender and slipping the ball to Israel Folau. The giant centre out-sprinted veteran Manly five-eighth Steve Menzies from 30-metres out to score in the corner.
In between Melbourne's tries, the Sea Eagles had their moments when they sent the almost 18,500 Manly fans packed into the ground into raptures.
In the 12th min the Storm were lucky to get away without conceding a try from Brett Stewart. The Manly fullback was deemed to have taken out Anthony Quinn just before challenging a high ball with Slater. Slater spilled the ball and Stewart pounced, but the video referee had other ideas.
However, Manly weren't to be denied when backrower Glenn Hall scored after referee Shayne Hayne penalised the Storm 10-metres from their own try-line, gifting the Sea Eagles another set of six.
The second-half started in much the same vein as the first.
After looking like he was about to pass, Cronk decided he'd go himself, barging between Menzies and Anthony Watmough to extend the Storm's lead to 10-points.
But the Sea Eagles weren't going to let the Storm run away with the game, and five minutes later they drew within a converted try when David Williams crossed in the corner.
The game then descended into a real arm-wrestle, and when Cronk failed with a field goal conversion with nine minutes remaining, you just knew Manly were going to lay siege to the Storm's try-line.
And lay siege they did. With five sets in a row in the dying minutes, Manly threw everything they had at Melbourne, but they couldn't crack the best defence in the NRL, and the Storm left Brookvale with two valuable points in the race for the minor premiership
In other NRL combat, the Wests Tigers secured a 12-2 lead at half-time on their way to an upset 18-10 victory over the hot and cold Dragons at WIN Stadium.
Lower grade results also went the way of the away teams with Melbourne jolting Manly 28-20 in the Toyota Cup under-20’s competition while the Tigers put out the Dragons fire 28-18..
STORM 16 (Tries: Geyer, Folau, Cronk; Goals: C Smith 2) def. SEA EAGLES 10 (Tries: Hall, Williams; Goals: Matai) at Brookvale Oval. Crowd: 18,442 Referee: T Archer. Penalties: Manly 6-5 - Read More, Here