Melbourne Storm’s Jersey Flegg side has given their finals hopes a big boost with a last-gasp 24-18 victory over the Wests Tigers in Round 24.
Despite trailing at the break, a try to winger Oscar Amosa iced the result for Storm in the dying stages after halfback Keagan Russell-Smith put his side ahead through a penalty goal in the 63rd minute.
After enjoying the bye last week, Storm travelled to Sydney looking to solidify their position inside the top-6 heading into the final three rounds of the regular season.
Storm wasted little time in asserting their impression on the contest, Angus Hinchey benefiting from a perfectly weighted Russell-Smith grubber that sat up perfectly for the lock forward in the in-goal area.
Tigers would return serve with two tries of their own in the first half, leaving Storm plenty of work to do in the second 40.
As has so often been the case this season, it was some brilliance from Mitch Jennings that would rocket Storm back into the contest, the Maroons U19 representative slicing through the Tigers line with speed to tie scores up only two minutes after the resumption of play.
Fullback Heath Mason then took matters into his own hands for the home side, using some nifty footwork and speed to get the better of Stanley Huen close to the line, taking the Tigers lead out to six-points in the 41st minute.
The see-sawing nature of the second half continued, Storm gifted good field position on the back of a penalty and Ali Okusitino taking full advantage in the 47th minute.
With Jennings seemingly wrapped up a number of a Tigers defenders, the ball popped out the back and it was some quick thinking from Huen that would orchestrate a try out of nothing.
The young half putting boot to ball without a moment's hesitation and applying the perfect weight to the grubber, the Steeden sitting up on a silver platter for a flying Ali Okusitino in the 47th minute.
After Tigers levelled scores in the 55th minute through a penalty goal, Russell-Smith quickly restored Storm’s lead with a penalty goal of their own just under 10 minutes later.
Holding only a slim two-point buffer heading into the final 10 minutes, the game was on a knifes edge but Storm were able to secure good field position after Gabriel Satrick forced a repeat set from a well-weighed grubber into the in-goal.
From the repeat set, Storm shifted it wide, fullback Karauria Stokes-Mahara floating the perfect cut-out ball to Oscar Amosa who dived over in the corner in the 66th minute.
While the Tigers managed to secure possession from the short kick-off, some great scrambling defence in a frantic final few seconds would ensure Storm left Lidcombe Oval with the full two-points.
Storm now return home in Round 25 to face the 3rd placed Penrith Panthers at Gosch’s Paddock on Sunday.
Wests Tigers 18 - Melbourne Storm 24
Storm: Angus Hinchey, Mitchell Jennings, Ali Okusitino, Maanaima Amosa
Tigers: Livai Saukuru, Trey Peni, Heath Mason
Storm: Keagan Russell-Smith 4
Tigers: Livai Saukuru 3