2015 Auckland Nines wrap
Melbourne Storm finished their 2015 Auckland Nines campaign on Sunday, leaving New Zealand after one win and two losses in the second year of the nine-a-side tournament.
Melbourne Storm 8 defeated by North Queensland Cowboys 17
A fast start from the Cowboys put Melbourne on the back foot in game one with ex-Storm winger Justin O'Neill opening the scoring against his former side. Falling to a 13-point deficit, Storm responded in the second half with Kurt Mann's try drawing Melbourne to within striking distance.
With time ticking down the Cowboys found a settler through Matthew Wright which all but confirmed the result, leaving Melbourne with too much to do in the remaining stages. Hymel Hunt's late try reduced the final margin to nine points.
North Queensland 17: Ethan Lowe, Justin O'Neill, Matthew Wright
Melbourne 8: Kurt Mann, Hymel Hunt
Melbourne Storm 20 defeated Penrith Panthers 4
Needing victory to keep their hopes of a Quarter-Final berth alive, Melbourne started their second match on Saturday positively. Three tries within the opening four minutes of play allowed Melbourne to gain the early ascendency and the young outfit did not look back.
Marika Koroibete's lightning speed and Young Tonumaipea's double helped Storm to their first victory of the day with a solid defensive display not allowing the Panthers to settle in attack.
Melbourne 20: Young Tonumaipea 2, Marika Koroibete, William Chambers
Penrith 4: Joshua Jay
Melbourne Storm 4 defeated by South Sydney Rabbitohs 24
In a cutthroat final round match-up with South Sydney, Melbourne required victory to extend their 2015 Auckland Nines campaign.
A Storm error from kick-off invited the Rabbitohs to open the scoring with dummy half Isaac Luke crossing the line to give his side the lead. Cameron Munster's quick response closed the gap to two points for Melbourne before South Sydney extended their lead on the stroke of half-time.
A clinical performance from last year's NRL Premiers did not give Melbourne a chance in the second stanza of play as they controlled possession, adding a further three unanswered tries.
South Sydney 24: Issac Luke, Chris McQueen, Joel Reddy, Angus Chricton, Bryson Goodwin
Melbourne 4: Cameron Munster