Melbourne Storm has been denied a crucial two points by a determined Sydney Roosters defence in front of 13,879 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
A wealth of possession and a strong defensive performance of their own was not enough for Craig Bellamy’s side to claim victory over the powerful Roosters on a wet night in Sydney. Storm fell short after an extremely tight contest, hanging in the balance was broken open by two late Sydney tries.
The Roosters got off to an electrifying start, capitalising on an early Melbourne error to open the scoring after just five minutes. Jake Friend’s vision found Daniel Tupou in space on the left wing allowing the hosts to jump out of the blocks.
Million Dollar Match: 5 Sept, AAMI Park. Be there for your chance “Kick to Cure” and win $1million. Buy tickets here.
Accruing a substantial period of possession after conceding the lead, Melbourne built a sustained period of pressure, patiently wearing down a steadfast Sydney defence.
Some quick thinking by Cameron Smith and Billy Slater shifting the focus of the attack allowed the fullback to expose the middle of the Roosters defence with some sharp footwork, helping his side level the scores.
Greasy conditions made ball security and handling paramount on a wet evening in Sydney. Assured in possession for most of the opening 40 minutes, Melbourne finished the half with a 90 per cent completion rate.
An action packed beginning to the second stanza saw Trent Robinson’s side regain the lead courtesy of a penalty goal before a dropped ball immediately after the ensuing kick-off invited Melbourne into attack.
Smith and Slater then combined once again with a slick play. The Storm number one punished the Roosters down the middle of the field to ensure Sydney’s lead was only short lived.
Both teams continued to trade sets as the tense affair continued before an uncharacteristic Storm error at the back from the visitors meant Sydney would ensure a third lead change for the half.
Aidan Guerra and Daniel Tupou’s late four pointers sealed Sydney’s victory, leaving Melbourne in fifth position on the NRL table with games to come in Round 25.
Melbourne Storm 12
Tries: Billy Slater 21m, Billy Slater 46m
Goals: Cameron Smith 2
Sydney Roosters 24
Tries: Daniel Tupou 5m, Mitchell Pearce 65m, Aidan Guerra 75m, Daniel Tupou 79m
Goals: James Maloney 4