Melbourne Storm have fallen to the Canberra Raiders in the club’s first trial match of 2014.
With both sides braving warm conditions at AAMI Park, the Raiders prevailed, winning 20-12 thanks to a late flurry of tries.
Canberra opened the scoring in just the fifth minute of play with a swift move to the left wing which saw Reece Robinson play in Mosese Pangai for a simple try.
Melbourne responded well to conceding early, putting together consecutive enterprising sets to push the Raiders defence back.
Storm’s halves combination of Ben Hampton and Cody Walker worked well early with Hampton heavily involved in the build up to Melbourne’s first try.
The 21-year old sidestepped the Canberra defence to provide Kevin Proctor with the assist as the forward barged through to the try-line to level the scores.
Both sides went into the main break level at 4-4 however it was the visiting Raiders who jumped out of the blocks to start the second stanza.
Jordan Rapana capitalised on his side’s quick ball movement, allowing Canberra to once again break open the Storm defence and re-take the lead.
Melbourne began to find more cohesion in possession as the half wore on and once again found a way through Canberra’s defence to level the scores. Ben Roberts’ high ball allowed Young Tonumaipea to create an aerial contest and then score much to the delight of the home faithful.
Tonumaipea’s effort was then followed by a brilliant team try, which saw Storm take the lead for the first time of the evening. A breakaway and offload from Mitch Garbutt allowed Roberts to secure his second try assist of the match when he played Hymel Hunt in for a four pointer.
Melbourne’s four-point advantage was not enough however, with the fast finishing Raiders overturning the deficit, scoring back to back tries to finish the match.
Melbourne Storm 12
Tries: Kevin Proctor, Young Tonumaipea, Hymel Hunt
Canberra Raiders 20
Tries: Jordan Rapana, Matt Allwood, Mosese Pangai, Jack Wighton
Goals: Mitch Cornish 2
Melbourne Storm 28 defeated Canberra Raiders 26
SG Ball Trial
Melbourne Storm 40 defeated Canberra Raiders 16
Melbourne Storm 24 defeated Canberra Raiders 16