Seve’s season severed as Storm seal Manly’s semi-final struggle

Melbourne Storm hooker and captain Cameron Smith

A ruthless Melbourne Storm have welcomed back a host of stars in a match that the Manly Sea Eagles never threatened to control, emerging 30-6 winners.

The victory has come at a cost, with centre Marion Seve suffering a suspected ACL injury in a regular hit up early in the game.

The loss was softened somewhat by the fair debut of Isaac Lumelume, who was a late inclusion at the expense of Brenko Lee, and the hat-trick heroics of PNG sensation Justin Olam.

Melbourne came in to this game off the back of a 14-0 loss to Parramatta.

Regardless of key absences, few sides keep Melbourne to nil and it was surely a point of bruised ego for the disciplined Bellamy outfit.

With aforementioned stars returning, Manly would have to find an extra gear, reeling from a month in which they had lost the four games leading to this match-up.

This fifth loss will surely have coach Des Hasler sweating on the fitness of star Tom Trbojevic, who statistically raises their win rate astronomically with his presence alone.

It wasn’t long before Melbourne hit the lead, with super-sub Nicho Hynes called in earlier than expected and delivering a peach of a pass to Justin Olam for his first try.

Manly mounted a brief fightback with two big men combining.

Marty Taupau showing some of the silky skills he brings to front row, giving a beautiful short pass to the revelatory Addin Fonua-Blake for his third try of the season.

The Manly celebrations were short-lived though,  with returning

Captain Cameron again proving why he is still the hottest property on the market at 37 with an inch-perfect 60 metre kick that saw Josh Addo-Carr sprint in for his first of two tries.

From there, it seemed there was nothing the hapless Manly Sea Eagles could do to stop the rampaging Storm on their way to securing second place on the ladder.

Hulking prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona crashing over less than five minutes later.

The second half would see Olam plant the ball over the line twice more to put the game far beyond reach, condemning Manly to another season without playing finals football.

Addo-Carr would rub it in with this length-of-the-field effort from the Storm in the dying minutes of the game.

Score

Melbourne Storm 30 (Olam 3, Addo-Carr 2, Asofa-Solomona) def Manly Sea Eagles 6 (Fonua-Blake)

Conversions

Cameron Smith 3/6

Reuben Garrick 1/1

NRL News Player of the Match

3 Points – Cameron Smith

2 Points – Justin Olam

1 Point – Josh Addo-Carr

Melbourne Storm centre Justin Olam

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