Storm become World Club Champions
Saturday 23 February 2013 6:29 AM
Melbourne Storm has been crowned World Club Champions after defeating English Super League title winners Leeds Rhinos 18-14 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
A superb defensive performance helped secure the win for Storm as the visitors managed to defend a 10-point lead built thanks to back-to-back tries at the start of the second half.
Jesse Bromwich and Bryan Norrie lead the from the front getting through a mountain of work against the Rhinos defensive line whilst Cooper Cronk’s kicking game played a big role in the outcome as the halfback marshalled his side in the halves.
In front of a packed crowd at Headingley, Craig Bellamy’s side could not have asked for a better start, quickly forcing Leeds out of play and earning a turn over in the Rhinos’ opening set of the match.
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Just five minutes into the contest, Storm earned a repeat set of six coming off the back of a Billy Slater line break from deep in defence. Putting the home side under significant pressure early, Melbourne capitalised on their dominance, opening the scoring when Cameron Smith elected to take the points after Rhinos fullback Kallum Watkins failed to deal with a Cronk high ball.
Melbourne’s defence was faultless early on, denying Leeds any rythym as Brian McDermott’s side looked for quick ball movement to spread the Storm line.
After looking dangerous, chiming in and out of Storm attacks, Slater scored the first try of the evening off the back of a slick Melbourne move. From halfback, Cronk’s short ball found Ryan Hoffman who ran found a breach in the Rhinos defence. It left the forward with a simple pass to Slater as the fullback strolled over the line.
The English Super League champions pressed hard late in the half, changing the momentum of the match, which had been in Melbourne’s favour for the opening 30 minutes of the clash.
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Ryan Hall helped the Rhinos claw their way back into the contest, scoring the home side’s first try of the evening. Off the back of their try, Leeds continued to attack however, handling errors from Rob Burrow and then Joel Moon cost the home side a chance to hit the lead.
A blistering patch of play at the beginning of the second half from Melbourne broke the game wide open. Tries to Bromwich and debutant Tohu Harris opened up a 10-point lead for the visitors. Harris finished off a brilliant team move from Storm as they spread the ball to the right wing where the young forward was able to combine with Sisa Waqa and Will Chambers.
When it looked like Melbourne had once again gained the ascendancy, Leeds refused to lie down. Jamie Jones-Buchanan finished off a free flowing Rhinos move to once again reduce the Storm lead.
With the home crowd in full voice, after the hour mark, Leeds began to put the Melbourne defence under enormous pressure as they earned repeat sets on top of their own try line looking to take the lead.
As the clock winded down, Melbourne defended with great determination and organisation and denied a rampant Rhinos attack to claim the World Club Challenge victory.
Melbourne 18 – Leeds 14
Tries: Slater, J. Bromwich, Harris,
Goals: Smith 3
Tries: Hall, Jones-Buchanan
Goals: Sinfield 3