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Mighty Melbourne Storm outclass noble Newcastle Knights

Melbourne Storm captain and hooker Cameron Smith









Two premiership contenders fought a tough battle at Central Coast Stadium, with the Melbourne Storm proving too strong in the final minutes to defeat the Newcastle Knights 26-12.

Melbourne were coming off a comprehensive win against South Sydney last week.

Meanwhile,  the Knights announced themselves as premiership contenders with a win against the Canberra Raiders.

Melbourne were without Jahrome Hughes, as Ryley Jacks came in at halfback for the first time this year.

It would be the Canadian international who opened the scoring after five minutes.

Jacks would capitalize off an opportunistic grubber in-field from Josh Addo-Carr.

Addo-Carr’s kick caught the Newcastle defense ball-watching in the in goal to score his first of the year.

A successful conversion from Cameron Smith would see the score move to 6-0 after as many minutes.

The next twenty minutes would be a grind for both sides, with Newcastle holding stout as the Storm peppered the goal line with repeat sets.

A rare attacking chance for the Knights in the 20th minute saw Ponga go through the defensive line of the Storm.

Only some resolute defence from Ryan Papenhuyzen was able to stop the Knights fullback millimetres out.

Cameron Smith played an outstanding game, setting up the next two tries.

First with a beautiful long ball from dummy half to Suliasi Vunivalu, who beat three Knights to get the ball down in the right hand corner.

A Smith conversion sent the Storm up 12-0, with the Knights reeling in defense.

Ten minutes later, Smith sent Tino Faasuamaleaui over from close range just left of the posts to further put the sword into the Knights defense.

Smith converted the try he set up to make it 18-0, as a penalty goal from Kalyn Ponga right on half time sent the game into the break at 18-2.

Melbourne kept steady in all aspects for the first ten minutes.

However ,a gift error from Suliasi Vunivalu gave the Knights a golden opportunity to which they took full advantage of.

A Kurt Mann grubber saw Bradman Best score his 5th try this season.

Kalyn Ponga misses the conversion from out wide to keep the score at 18-6.

The Knights had fans on the edge of their seats six minutes later.

Some great lead up play from Mitchell Pearce, Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best saw Edrick Lee score in the left hand corner.

Ponga drilled the conversion attempt, setting up a tantalizing twenty minutes with the score at 18-12.

That would be as close as the Knights got, with Kalyn Ponga bombing a certain try by ignoring a 4-on-1 opportunity just minutes later.

Melbourne took advantage of that with a penalty goal after David Klemmer took out Dale Finucane right in front.

At 20-12 and with minutes left, the Knights could not muster up the grit to find a break.

Brandon Smith would live up to his nickname and burrow his way over from close range to put the game to bed for Melbourne.

Cameron Smith would keep his perfect kicking record, converting the final shot at goal as Melbourne ran away 26-12 winners on the Central Coast.

With three games left in round 5, the Knights give the Parramatta Eels a little breathing space at the top of the table.

Melbourne, conversely close the gap to the Eels, keeping the pressure on at the top of the table.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Cameron Smith (MEL)

2. Dale Finucane (MEL)

  1. Tim Glasby (NEW)
Melbourne Storm lock Dale Finucane

Bellamy to Fight On

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy this afternoon addressed the media at AAMI Park in Melbourne and delivered the following statement:

“This has without doubt been the toughest 48 hours of our sporting lives.

“We have been gutted with what has transpired in recent days. Our greatest accomplishments and what we cherish most have been taken away from us by the harshest of unprecedented penalties.

“These guys behind me, they work their butts off, for 11 of the 12 months of the year, to be the best they can be on the football field.

“The majority of them have been here since they were kids.

“They spill blood for each other, for this club, for our members and supporters, for the development of rugby league in Victoria.

“They do it to win premierships – something we have been stripped of having any chance to do so this year.

“And they do it because they love to play for their teammates and the admiration they have for one another.

“We truly feel for our members and supporters. They are the most loyal and dedicated of fans. They have stood by us through tough times before.

“We again ask them to stand by us now.

“I want to thank the families of our players and staff for their unwavering support of everybody here at the club. We love you all.

“The two things they can never take away are our dignity and our integrity.

“That is why we welcome the full forensic investigation that is currently taking place at our club.

“We know we will be investigated. We welcome that.

“I love this club. I love these players. These players love this club.

“This is a great club. A strong club. A proud club. It has also been a successful club.

“This is why we stand here today united, we are not going anywhere, this club will not surrender.

“We, as people and as a rugby league club, have a big role to play in Victoria, which we are most proud of.

“We will not walk away from that challenge.

“We will stand up for ourselves and fight our way back from here. That fight starts today and on the field it will start tomorrow.

“The ongoing investigation currently taking place at the club means we are unable to answer any further questions here today.

“This is an ongoing process and one that may take time. And it is one that we welcome so we can start the rebuilding process.”

Bellamy and Melbourne captain Cameron Smith will hold a press conference tomorrow night at the conclusion of Storm’s round seven NRL match against the New Zealand Warriors at Etihad Stadium.