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)
- Tim Glasby (NEW)