First half Storm blitz seals win
A first half blitz by Melbourne has seen off a fast-finishing Wests Tigers side to record a 29-20 win on Sunday at AAMI Park.
Felise Kaufusi scored a double, the first of his career, as Storm crossed four times inside the opening half four.
It was enough to keep the visitors at bay who scored four of their own in the second half before a 35 metre Cooper Cronk field goal four minutes from time sealed the win.
After the first 10 minutes passed by without much fuss Marika Koroibete soon had the 14,412-strong crown up on their feet.
The Fijian Flyer burst through the Tigers line from his own half for a 50m run and with the defence staggered, Storm capitalised with a quick move to the right that sent Felise Kaufusi over for his second try of the season.
Cameron Smith made sure of the conversion and then added a penalty less than two minutes later for an 8-point lead.
As Storm piled on the pressure the errors started to show from the opposition and when another knock on was committed on the Tigers’ own 10m line it was an opportunity Melbourne were not about to let go begging.
It was Kaufusi again who bobbed up to bag his double courtesy of a pass from his skipper out of dummy half.
Back at AAMI Park, Storm were thriving in front of the purple faithful and soon made it four inside the opening half hour.
Tohu Harris did a 360 to collect a Cronk pass and spin through the Tigers’ line to score before Koroibete notched another memorable highlight.
The winger pounced on an errant Tigers’ pass on his own 15 and then burned through the remaining 85 metres in the blink of an eye to make it 26-0 in favour of Melbourne.
Wests Tigers needed to hit the scoreboard soon after the restart and they did just that inside three minutes through James Tedesco who turned on the speed to find a way through the Storm line for his 11th try in 12 games.
They soon had another through Luke Brooks who cut the Storm lead to 16 with just under half an hour to play.
Riding their wave of momentum, the visitors added a third after 14 minutes. Scorer of the previous try, Brooks came up with a flick pass to send Tim Simona over on the left side.
A healthy half-time lead was soon cut to just six points when David Nofoaluma capped off a rapid fire, right side move by the Tigers.
With the game in the balance, it was an ice-cool Cronk who stepped up to slot a 35-metre field goal before Smith added a penalty to secure the win.
Melbourne Storm 29
Tries: Felise Kaufusi 2, Tohu Harris, Marika Koroibete
Goals: Cameron Smith 4
Field goal: Cooper Cronk
Wests Tigers 20
Tries: James Tedesco, Luke Brooks, Tim Simona, David Nofoaluma
Goals: Mitchell Moses 2