Melbourne suffered their first defeat of 2015 on Saturday night, falling to Manly 24-22 in a tight contest at Brookvale Oval.
A strong second half comeback was not enough for Melbourne, who trailed by 18-points at half-time but clawed to within two points by the end of the match.
Heaping the pressure on the Melbourne defence early on with several sets deep in attack, the hosts opened the scoring through returning winger Steve Matai. After some sharp work from forward Feleti Mateo, Matai poured through a gap in the Storm defence to score.
Melbourne responded quickly after falling behind, levelling the scores with Billy Slater’s incisive pass paving the way for Young Tonumaipea to breakaway and score.
With minimal errors from both sides, a tight contest played out before a blistering last nine minutes to the first half saw the Sea Eagles race to a 18-point lead at half-time. Following a near Melbourne try at one end from Tonumaipea, Geoff Toovey’s side ran in three consecutive four pointers to take a stronghold on the contest.
Going close on numerous occasions during the second stanza, it took Melbourne until just beyond the hour mark to strike. Shortly after a disallowed try to Tim Glasby for a double movement, five-eighth Blake Green got his first try in Storm colours to give his side a glimmer of hope.
Marika Koroibete’s breathtaking kick return then turned the game on its head, allowing Will Chambers to cross for his first try of 2015.
With Storm carrying all the momentum, Green’s 74th minute try, his second of the match, set the game up for a grandstand finish.
Unfortunately for Melbourne, they were not able to find the ball needed in attack during the dying stages, eventually falling two points short.
Melbourne Storm 22
Tries: Young Tonumaipea 19m, Blake Green 62m, Will Chambers 66m, Blake Green 74m
Goals: Cameron Smith 3
Manly Sea Eagles 24
Tries: Steve Matai 10m, Brett Stewart 31m, Blake Leary 36m, Brett Stewart 39m
Goals: Jamie Lyon 4