Storm win thriller at Leichhardt
Cooper Cronk’s golden point field goal has earned Storm a hard fought victory at Leichhardt Oval.
A professional second half performance from Craig Bellamy’s side earned Storm victory in a nailbiter.
Storm got off to the best possible start imaginable when debutant Suliasi Vunivalu scored within 63 seconds of kick-off, handing the winger a fairytale start to his NRL career.
Responding strongly in front of their home faithful, the Tigers struck back with their own debutant winger scoring to level proceedings. Off the back of their opener, Wests went close to scoring a second off the end of a Robbie Farah grubber.
The kick did yield a penalty goal however, with Richard Kennar sent from the field for a professional foul. Managing well despite being one man down, Melbourne claimed the majority of possession while Kennar was off the field, holding the Tigers out.
However shortly after Melbourne returned to the full compliment, the Tigers found their second of the day after look Brooks intercepted a Cronk pass to run 60 metres to score.
As the half wore on, both sides traded periods of momentum with ball handling errors relieving the pressure on both sets of defences.
Just like they did in the first half, Melbourne began the stanza strongly as Cooper Cronk drew his side closer with a strong supporting run from Kevin Proctor helping the halfback over the line.
Vunivalu’s dream debut then continued when he crossed for the second time of the afternoon to give Melbourne the lead. It was followed by a try to fellow winger Marika Koroibete who gave Storm some breathing space against his former side.
In a tight finish, Kevin Naiqama’s 69th minute try set up a grandstand finish.
With Storm holding onto a narrow two point lead, a penalty goal for Wests from Jordan Rankin leveled the scores with just under two minutes remaining.
In golden point, it took yet another Cronk field goal to secure Melbourne’s fifth victory of 2016.
Melbourne Storm 19
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu 2m, Cooper Cronk 44m, Suliasi Vunivalu 53m, Marika Koroibete 59m
Goals: Cameron Smith 1
Field goal: Cooper Cronk 1
Wests Tigers 18
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr 7m, Luke Brooks 21m, Kevin Naiqama 69m
Goals: Jordan Rankin 1