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Melbourne's big guns Harry Grant and Jahrome Hughes dazzled in their first hit out for 2024 as the Storm downed the Knights 28-10 in Fiji on Saturday.

In warm conditions, both sides showed plenty of positive signs for their upcoming campaigns but Melbourne's spine simply outclassed the Knights who look to still be fine tuning final combinations ahead of Round 1.

Melbourne opened the scoring with a play that looked to be straight from the training paddock with some quick hands from Grant, Christian Welch and Hughes putting Eliesa Katoa through from close range. Nick Meaney converted to add the extras. 

After several changes over the drinks break, Storm went further ahead in the 19th minute with star winger Xavier Coates strolling over untouched thanks to some second phase play from Marion Seve and Treigh Stewart. 

Eliesa Katoa Try

On the back of a penalty against Tyran Wishart for a hip drop tackle, the Knights were quick to capitalise on the field position with a Tyson Gamble cutout pass putting Enari Tuala over in the corner. The Knights were on the board 12-4.

It took just five minutes for Melbourne to strike back with 20-year-old Jonah Pezet fooling Knights defenders with a crafty show-and-go play to extend the lead 18-4.

On the stroke of half-time, Knights skipper Kalyn Ponga came to the fore, ducking and weaving his way through Melbourne defenders before finding Bradman Best in support. Newcastle reduced the deficit to 18-10 at the break.

Bradman Best Try

Less than five minutes into the second stanza and Melbourne extended their lead with Joe Chan taking the ball downfield before Pezet looped a cut-out-ball over to Young Tonumaipea who muscled his way over the line.

Come the 62nd minute and Grant did it all himself when he scurried over from dummy half to all but put the game to bed at 28-10.

The Knights then lost veteran forward Jacob Saifiti to the sin bin for a late shot but managed to hold up Chan on the line while they were a man down to deny the Storm a chance to go further ahead.

The Storm looked to ice the win in the 79th minute but with the try called back for a forward pass the final margin remained 18 points.

Match Snapshot 

  • The two clubs agreed on an extended halftime and drinks break with temperatures reaching over 30°C in Lautoka.
  • Several Storm players decided to sit on the team bus at half time to cool off in the air-conditioner before returning to the field.
  • Knights stars Tyson Frizell, Kalyn Ponga and Bradman Best put the boots up at half time and did not return for the second term.
  • Knights recruit Thomas Jenkins was placed on report in the 51st minute for a dangerous tackle on Storm centre Reimis Smith.
  • Melbourne forward Tui Kamikamica was immense in front of his home crowd, running 170 metres and making 21 tackles. 
  • Knights forward Jacob Saifiti was placed on report and sent to the sin bin in the 67th minute for a late shot on Storm local Tui Kamikamica.
  • Newcastle recruit Kai Pearce-Paul was placed on report for putting pressure on Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes.
  • Reimis Smith and Trent Loiero were taken from the field with injury concerns however were both cleared of anything serious.
  • After a loss to the Bulldogs last week, the Storm are now on 15 points on the Pre-Season Challenge ladder after picking up three bonus points for maximum line breaks, offloads and tries.

Play of the Game 

Harry Grant Try

What's Next 

The Storm host the reigning premier Panthers at home at AAMI Park to kick off their Telstra Premiership campaign. The two sides met in last year's qualifying final with Penrith coming out on top 38-4.

The Knights launch the season with another 2023 finals rematch with Adam O'Brien's side welcoming back the Raiders to McDonald Jones Stadium after last year's thrilling elimination final. 

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.