A young Melbourne outfit fell just short of upstaging Wests Tigers on Saturday evening on the Sunshine Coast.
After leading during the middle stages of the contest, Storm conceded a late try on the wing which proved enough for Wests to claim a narrow pre-season victory.
Melbourne were on the back foot early after outside backs Curtis Scott and Richie Kennar collided contesting a high ball. This created the opportunity for the first attacking opportunity of the contest which the Tigers duly took.
Josh Addo-Carr opened the scoring on the left wing, giving his side the lead before Michael Chee Kam did the same shortly after to give Jason Taylor’s side an early buffer.
Storm found a spark and better ball security following the drinks break on the 20 minute mark. Jordan McLean and Ben Hampton provided an immediate impact off the interchange bench as Melbourne gained momentum.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona opened Melbourne’s account in the trial, giving the Storm fans in the Sunshine Coast crowd their first chance to cheer for the evening. The big forward’s spin move drew his side to within two points before Craig Bellamy’s side finished the half with a flurry as outside backs Jeremy Hawkins and Curtis Scot both crossed the try line.
The second stanza began in a similar vein to the first as the Tigers asked the Storm defence plenty of questions. As he did in the first half, Addo Carr found room on the left edge and bagged his second try of the evening to reduce Wests’ deficit to just four points.
A tense finish saw both sides hold for prolonged periods of possession deep in attack without finding the crucial final pass. The Tigers eventually managed to find the breakthrough as Nathan Milone crossed for what would be the winning try with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Melbourne Storm 16
Tries: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jeremy Hawkins, Curtis Scott
Goals: Joe Stimson 2
Wests Tigers 18
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr 2, Michael Chee Kam, Nathan Milone
Goals: Jordan Rankin 1