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The Storm have joined a log jam of teams at the top of the NRL ladder after surviving a second half comeback by the Dolphins to triumph 24-16 at Suncorp Stadium.

With ex-Storm forwards Jesse and Kenny Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi in the Dolphins pack, the game exploded early with Origin ramifications for Queensland.  

The Maroons selection hopes of Kaufusi are in doubt after he was hit with a Grade 2 High Tackle - Careless charge for a tackle on Melbourne prop Christian Welch in just the second minute of the match, which carries with it a possible 3-4 match ban. 

Kaufusi only recently returned after serving a four-match ban for a late tackle on Knights playmaker Jackson Hastings.

Kaufusi sent to the bin

"Obviously coming up against our own club we wanted to go out there and make a difference but if we do that again we would obviously do a few things differently," Storm captain Jesse Bromwich said.

"We went overboard a couple of times there but the boys put in a huge effort and at least made a game of it."

The Storm took advantage of the extra man after Kaufusi's sin-binning when former All Blacks sevens representative Will Warbrick finished a backline move to score in the fifth minute.

However, the Dolphins hit back almost immediately after Kaufusi's return to the fray, with fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow putting winger Jamayne Isaako over in the 13th minute.

Clever thinking by Kiwis halfback Jahrome Hughes led to Melbourne's second try after he spotted Tabuai-Fidow at marker and grubbered behind the defence for star playmaker Cameron Munster to score in the 17th minute.

Hughes then turned a ball inside to a rampaging Eliesa Katoa who surged through the defence to score in the 32nd minute and the pair then combined to send Reimis Smith racing over four minutes later.

Katoa gets his first

Storm forward Trent Loiero had a try disallowed midway through the second half after team-mate Xavier Coates knocked on as they both dived for a kick by Munster. 

Isaako raised the hopes of Dolphins fans for another comeback when he stepped inside Coates and beat Tui Kamikamica to score and reduce Melbourne's lead to 14 points with 12 minutes remaining.

Former Kiwis international Kodi Nikorima edged the Dolphins closer when he dived over from dummy half after sending Tabuai-Fidow into space on an earlier tackle in the set.   

Match snapshot

  • The Storm are equal first with the Panthers, Rabbitohs, Sharks and Broncos on 16 points and have a bye next weekend.
  • The Dolphins are on 14 points.
  • Storm coach Craig Bellamy achieved his 30th win in 40 matches against Wayne Bennett, whom he began his NRL coaching career under 25 years ago.
  • Nelson Asofa-Solomona ran 139 metres in 17 runs with the ball during two stints totalling 38 minutes, which were punctuated by the Storm forward requiring treatment for a rib injury.
  • Kiwi internationals Jeremy Marshall-King and Jamayne Isaako are both yet to win against the Storm through six and seven games respectively.
  • Eliesa  Katoa's 32nd minute try bought up the the Storm's require 1,000th point at Suncorp Stadium.
  • Storm winger Will Warbrick has scored six tries in his past seven games.
  • Dolphins prop Jarrod Wallace played his 200th NRL game.

Hammer held up

Play of the game

With the teams back to 13 v 13 following Felise Kaufusi's return from the sin bin and the Dolphins having just scored, Jahrome Hughes took control of the match with some quick thinking after spotting Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow at marker.

A perfectly weighted grubber kick by Hughes behind the defensive line was pounced on by team-mate Cameron Munster for a 17th minute try and the Storm were never headed in the match.

Magic from Munster and Hughes

What they said

"I think the first time you play against your old club you are always going to be fired up and we did have a little chat about it during the week. For me, the thing with Fus, is that we love it when he goes out there and is aggressive, he puts on the shots and changes the game for us. It gives us so much momentum so we encourage that sort of behaviour. Swinging arms, I'm not so sure about, but we love him when he is aggressive," - Dolphins captain Jesse Bromwich.

Dolphins: Round 12

"It made it a bit easier when 'Fus' got sent to the bin and I thought we set a really good platform then. We obviously struggled in the second half and I thought the whole game the Dolphins scrambled really well. I suppose the best part of the second half was that we hung in there but lost our way for whatever reason. But the Dolphins never gave up as we have seen all year with them, and they did well to get back into the game," - Storm coach Craig Bellamy. 

Storm: Round 12

What's next 

The Dolphins host the Dragons at Kayo Stadium on Thursday night, while the Storm welcome a bye at the start of the Origin period.

Dolphins enforcer Felise Kaufusi will have an anxious wait to learn if he faces another suspension after being sinbinned in the opening minutes for a high shot on former Melbourne team-mate Christian Welch.

Any further suspension will rule Kaufusi out of the Maroons team for Origin I in Adelaide on May 31.

Fellow former Storm forward Kenny Bromwich was also placed on report over an incident involving Nick Meaney in the second half.

The Storm's next match is against the Cowboys on Saturday, June 4, and they will be hoping to have George Jennings (hamstring) and Alec MacDonald (elbow) available for the trip to Townsville.

Second-rower Elisia Katoa suffered an AC-joint injury that forced him from the field in the 53rd minute.

Prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona required needling during the first half for a rib cartilage injury that he carried into the game.

 

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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