NRL Premiership - Round 19, Newcastle Knights v Melbourne Storm - Sunday 17 July 2016, Hunter Stadium Broadmeadow NSW - Photographer Shane Myers © nrlphotos.com

Storm hold off brave Knights

Melbourne has held off a brave Newcastle side to leave Hunter Stadium with a 20-16 win on Sunday.

Storm had just 42% posession and made 81 more tackles than the Knights but some resolute defence allowed them to counter attack throughout the contest.

Marika Koroibete finished with a double and a game-high 172 metres while Blake Green had two try assists.

The win now moves Melbourne three games clear inside the top two on the NRL ladder.

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Roosters, Saturday 23 July, 7:30pm.

The visitors enjoyed a significant boost prior to kick off with Cameron Munster returning to the side as well as Will Chambers, who had not played since Round 6.

It was a strange start to the game as Storm committed three errors and had less than 30% of possession inside the first 10 minutes, yet they somehow managed to strike first.

The chance came after a brilliant Cheyse Blair tackle caused Pat Mata'utia to fumble the ball into the hands of Koroibete who raced 85 metres down field in the blink of an eye.

Despite edging ahead Melbourne continued to remain on the back foot, making 18 tackles inside their own 20 before the pressure eventually told as Jake Mamo went over for the home side in the 21st minute.

Storm hit back immediately though when Cameron Munster combined brilliantly with Suliasi Vunivalu, throwing a genius pass to the Fijian who came up with an even better finish for his 17th try of the season.

The remainder of the half fell into quite the arm wrestle as both sides committed errors with denied them the opportunity to generate any real momentum.

Despite having just 37% of possession and committing 72 more tackles than their opposition it was the Victorian side who headed for the sheds with an 8-6 lead.

Storm suffered a blow at the break with Dale Finucane ruled out of the remainder game with concussion.

The arm wrestle continued in the second half with neither side able to create any clear-cut opportunities. With the game in need of some individual brilliance Koroibete stepped up to answer the call on 52 minutes.

He collected the ball flat-footed down the left before putting his head down and running straight through with three defenders powerless to stop him.

Cameron Smith then stepped up to make sure of the touch-line conversion and push the lead out to eight.

The home side would not go quietly though and after enjoying plenty of possession found a way to put Brendan Elliot through to bring the lead back to four points with 14 minutes to play.

It set up a tense finish but it was a moment that Storm's leaders thrive in.

Melbourne steered the football up field and into attacking territory. Sensing the opportunity, Blake Green sliced through the Knights' line before offloading to Tohu Harris for a timely try.

Just when it seamed Storm had the points wrapped up Mamo secured his double and Hodkinson notched the conversion to cut the deficit back to just four with three minutes left.

Storm were able to force a turnover off the ensuing kick off to effectively end the contest and leave Hunter Stadium with the two points.

Melbourne Storm 20
Tries:
Marika Koroibete 2, Suliasi Vunivalu, Blake Green
Goals: Cameron Smith 2

Newcastle Knights 16
Tries:
Jake Mamo 2, Brendan Elliot
Goals: Trent Hodkinson 2