Match highlights: Storm v Knights
The nib Newcastle Knights were defeated 40-14 by the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Friday evening.
Early tries to the Storm and an unfavourable penalty count against the Knights didn’t do them any favours as they trailed by 10 at half time, and the Storm kept the pressure coming in the second stanza as Josh Addo-Carr and Suiliasi Vunivalu continued the damage out wide.
Melbourne were lucky with a quick penalty in the first minute and it paid off, as Billy Slater made a break down the left side and dished off to Addo-Carr who sprinted it to the line. The Storm took the early lead 4-0.
Before the ten-minute mark, luck fell the Storm's way yet again, with a perfect kick from Slater on the third play.
It bounced back into the hands of winger Vunivalu who glided over for the home side’s second try. Cameron Smith didn’t miss this time to put the Storm in front 10-0.
Shortly after the Knights were again in a precarious position as Brock Lamb knocked on 10 metres out to award Melbourne another six, before Tim Glasby muscled his way to the line to push out the lead, 16-0.
19 minutes in and the penalties were coming thick and fast against the Knights. Smith took the kick in front and sent it right through the middle to see the Storm extend the scoreline to 18-0.
In the 28th minute it was Lachlan Fitzgibbon to finally get the Knights on the board through the hands of Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga.
The forward recorded his fourth try in six matches, although Ponga was unable to convert, and the Knights trailed 18-4.
A few penalties edged the Knights closer to the line before Aidan Guerra was the man to get the ball over, but he was held up and another mistake from the Knights returned possession to the home side.
In the final two minutes before halftime, Pearce swung the ball deep into the left corner to winger Ken Sio, who dodged his way through two defenders to crash over. It was the Storm 18-8 into the break.
Early on in the second half it was almost deja vu for the Knights, as Slater off-loaded to Addo-Carr who crossed over with the ball, but it was pulled back and deemed a forward pass to see the Knights regain possession.
The Knights were down to 12 men as Fitzgibbon was sin binned following an offside call which then helped Melbourne to record their next.
The ball went wide to Addo-Carr who was able to stretch his arm over the line. Smith added the extras to see Melbourne command a 24-8 lead.
58 minutes in Ponga broke free and made a speedy dash down the left side but the ball came loose, and it was back in Melbourne hands.
A swirling high kick from Ryley Jacks saw the Knights come unstuck, as the ball ricocheted off Sio and Vunivalu picked up the crumbs to cross over for the double. The Storm extended their lead, 30-8.
Again, under the radar, Sio snuck through for the Knights on the left side for his second 66 minutes in. Ponga booted his first goal for the night to see the Knights trail 30-14.
Minutes later Storm big man Felise Kaufusi spotted a gap in defence and made the most of it as he charged through to make it a 20-point lead.
It became a scoring assault for Melbourne as Sam Kasiano made his way through traffic to record another for the home side with five minutes on the clock and the Storm took it to the siren to record the win, 40-14.
Knights 14 (T: Fitzgibbon, Sio 2, G: Ponga 1/3)
Storm 40 (T: Ado-Car 2, Vunivalu 2, Glasby, Kaufusi, Kasiano G: Smith 5/7, PG: Smith 1/1)