A mix of young guns and established stars proved the perfect combination for Melbourne, who went through Day 1 of the Auckland Nines undefeated to book their place in the quarterfinals.
Storm 14 def Eels 4
Storm could not have asked for a more perfect start to their Auckland Nines campaign when, following an Eels error off the kickoff, Ben Hampton played Cameron Munster through for a try inside the opening two minutes.
That early lead was short lived however as Manu Ma’u replied a minute later to level the scores at 4-4.
Both teams botched their early conversion attempts though heavy rain had plenty of say in the matter.
Despite the blistering opening three minutes, the remainder of the first half was played out with little fanfare as the teams heading for their halftime huddles with the score locked at 4-4.
The second half would soon turn into the Blake Green show as the Storm’s Nines captain took control of the game by both foot and hand.
The later of which provided Richie Kennar with a perfectly timed grubber kick to run onto and extended Melbourne’s lead to 8-4.
Green then put the icing on the cake himself, he slicing through the Eels line before going over to give the Storm fans their first taste of victory for 2016.
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Storm 18 def Rabbitohs 12
Coming up against the reigning Auckland Nines champions was never going to be easier but it did not take long for Melbourne to again hit the scoreboard early.
This time it came courtesy of the unstoppable power of Kenny Bromwich, who collected the ball down the right side and then proceeded to bulldoze his was into and through the Rabbitohs line to send his hometown crowd into a frenzy.
The Storm side in Game 2 boasted plenty of young talent and it was that same talent that saw the side go 12-0 up.
A clever Curtis Scott flick pass was followed by a Cameron Munster offload to Nelson Asofa-Solomona and once the big Kiwi saw the try-line there was simply no stopping him.
When Munster then kicked his second conversion of the game Melbourne had burst out to a 12-0 lead.
However the reigning champions were not going to go down lightly and when they responded with back-to-back tries ether side of halftime it ensured a tense finish would follow.
Enter captain fantastic, Blake Green, who caught the Rabbitohs defence napping with a perfectly measured 40-20 kick.
Following up from his outstanding defensive effort only moments earlier, Scott charged up the other end to finish off Green’s work to secure the match-sealing try and his first in the purple jersey.