Storm suffocate tenacious Tigers

Written By Unknown on Senin, 08 April 2013 | 23.40

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Class ... Billy Slater at his mercurial best. Source: Michael Klein / News Limited

NRL champions Melbourne suffered an almighty scare by a fired-up Wests Tigers before escaping with a 26-12 win at AAMI Park on Monday night.




Siosaia Vave 39' James Tedesco 18'
Mahe Fonua 62' Benji Marshall 52'
Cooper Cronk 65'
Sisa Waqa 73'




Cameron Smith 40' Braith Anasta 54'
Cameron Smith 63'
Cameron Smith 66'
Cameron Smith 74'




Gareth Widdop 78' Braith Anasta 33'

In a gripping encounter the home side didn't hit the front until the 66th minute, with man of the match and halfback Cooper Cronk orchestrating a brilliant final 20 minutes.

W L D B PD Pts
1 Storm 5 0 0 0 66 10
2 Rabbitohs 5 0 0 0 39 10
3 Sea Eagles 4 1 0 0 78 8
4 Knights 3 2 0 0 41 6
5 Roosters 3 2 0 0 40 6
6 Titans 3 2 0 0 34 6
7 Broncos 2 3 0 0 14 4
8 Sharks 2 3 0 0 4 4
9 Cowboys 2 3 0 0 -10 4
10 Eels 2 3 0 0 -30 4
11 Dragons 2 3 0 0 -33 4
12 Tigers 2 3 0 0 -49 4
13 Raiders 2 3 0 0 -59 4
14 Bulldogs 1 4 0 0 -31 2
15 Panthers 1 4 0 0 -48 2
16 Warriors 1 4 0 0 -56 2

After a try by Cronk they sealed the victory, which was a club record 13th in succession, with six minutes remaining with some individual brilliance by premiership winger Sisa Waqa in his first game of the season after a hand injury.

Little went right for most of the match for the home side, who looked shell-shocked as they were out-enthused and out-played across the park.

Melbourne's usual weapons - their kicking game and their defence - let them down while their attack was uncharacteristically sloppy with credit due to the Tigers' punishing defence.

The teams went to the sheds at halftime locked at 6-6, with Tigers winger James Tedesco opening the scoring in the 18th minute.

Re-live the action in our NRL Match Centre, featuring play-by-play commentary and stats. 

The Storm answered through forward Siosaia Vave, who crashed over just two minutes before the break.

While the home side would have copped a spray from coach Craig Bellamy, it was the visitors who came out firing in the second half.

They dominated possession with four repeat sets before Robbie Farah put up a bomb that was taken by Ben Murdoch-Masila, who managed to get a one-handed pass away to Benji Marshall.

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That gave them a 12-6 lead and it looked like an upset was on the cards.

The Tigers were left to rue a try that was then disallowed because Murdoch-Masila was deemed to have touched a Storm defender as his teammate Eddie Pettybourne drove over the line.

Skipper Robbie Farah described it as a "weird one''.

But the undefeated Storm showed why they are top of the competition ladder as they started to build some momentum while the Tigers ran out of steam.

"The result's the most important thing and we didn't get that. I am pleased with some facets of what we did tonight but we need to do it for 80 minutes,'' said Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter.

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The penalty count blew out against the visitors, giving Melbourne even more ball with the pressure finally telling on the Tigers.

"There's a lot of talk going on out there and a lot of influence from senior guys and I don't think we get the rub of the green some times,'' said Potter.

"Different people have different influences.''

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Winger Mahe Fonua scored a well-deserved try off a Billy Slater rocket pass in the corner in the 62nd minute and skipper Cameron Smith levelled at 12-12.

Just minutes later Smith sent the ball on to Cronk, who found Chambers who broke through a tackle by Tedesco and after running downfield, passed back inside to the game's leading No.7.

The Tigers' experiment with Braith Anasta at halfback gave the team more shape, particularly with Benji Marshall troubled with a toe injury for much of the game.

Storm coach Bellamy said his team was flat after their three-day break over Easter but he was happy with the way they fought back in the second half.

"The first half we lacked a little bit of energy but in the second half we certainly picked that up,'' he said.

"The two things that were really important for us were patience and persistence and I was really proud of that.''

When asked about Potter's complaints Bellamy said the Storm should have received more penalties with the Tigers constantly trying to slow the ruck down.

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