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Sea Eagles hold off persistent Storm to break losing streak

The Sea Eagles broke a three-game losing streak with a thrilling 26-20 win against the Melbourne Storm at 4 Pines Park.

While it was at times a chaotic ending to the match, it was a hard-fought tussle at the start, with the Sea Eagles having to earn their points despite dominating the field position and possession early. 

The home side were the first on the board, kicking an early penalty goal with Reuben Garrick slotting the two points.

After applying some pressure to the Storm, Ben Trbojevic scored the opening try of the game, with a good run onto a short ball from Luke Brooks, producing some good footwork on his way to the tryline.

The Sea Eagles then went bang-bang when Tommy Talau proved too strong, going over in the corner for a 12-0 lead.

Tommy Talau 1st Try

However, while the Sea Eagles were dominant in the first half, with 55 percent of the possession and heaping pressure on the Storm, the visitors were able to go into the break trailing only 12-6, with a late try to Eliesa Katoa and conversion from Nick Meaney keeping them in touching distance.

It was a fiery opening to the second half with the rivals sides not taking a backward step, however, the aggressive intent backfired for Manly with Nathan Brown penalised when in possession.

However, it didn't prove costly, with the Storm then forced into an error of their own. The Sea Eagles were able to extend their lead with a nice try to Jake Trbojevic who was set up by his skipper Daly Cherry-Evans with a tip-on play, with Garrick's kick pushing the lead out to 16-6. 

They were not able to get comfortable however, with Nick Meaney in the action, scoring a try, kicking a conversion and then stepping up on moments later to nail a penalty goal, once again drawing the Storm close to narrow the scores to 18-14.

Nick Meaney Try

With momentum seesawing, Talau extended the lead for his side once again, capitalising on back-to-back sets and ran in after a well-worked play along their backline.

Another successful penalty goal attempt - given for a high tackle - by Garrick had Manly push 12-points clear to lead 26-14 with under 10 minutes left to play.

As expected, the Storm were not easily shaken, with halfback Jahrome Hughes on his return from injury running in for a try. Hughes, who was partnering with Tyran Wishart in the halves with Cameron Munster out, was a beneficiary of some initial smart play at dummy half from Harry Grant and some good inside-outside passing from the Storm finding their man. 

It's all happening in this play

It was an error-riddled, but exciting, final moments of the game with both sides coughing up possession as the Storm chased points and the Sea Eagles looked to hold onto their lead. 

A kick into the in-goal was fielded by debutant Lehi Hopoate, but still earned the Storm a drop-out and coupled with a six-again call, Melbourne went on the attack, but the desperate goal-line defence from Manly held strong to earn a 26-20 win. 

Match Snapshot

  • Despite a dominant opening half, the Sea Eagles were only 12-6 in front at halftime, but held on and managed to win the game by the same six-point margin. 
  • Storm winger Will Warbrick left the field with a groin injury early in the second half and did not return. 
  • In his third match filling in for injury Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, Sualauvi Faalogo ran for a game high 213 metres, while Reuben Garrick made 176 playing at centre for the Sea Eagles.
  • To go with his two key tries, winger Tommy Talau had four tackle breaks and two line breaks in a strong performance for his side. 
  • Storm prop Tui Kamikamica made his 100th NRL appearance.
  • The Sea Eagles have now beaten the Storm in their past three clashes at 4 Pines Park.
  • Prior to this game, the Storm had won three in a row away from Melbourne.
  • Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold has now won three of eight encounters with Craig Bellamy.

Play of the Game

One of Manly's favourite sons Jake Trbojevic scored his first try of the season, running a good line and being fed a nice ball from his captain Daly Cherry-Evans to score a try and thrill the home supporters. 

Jake Trbojevic Try

What They Said

Sea Eagles: Round 12

“It was a really tough win; the Storm are a good side and have been for a long time for a reason. We knew we'd have to fight really hard and I thought Chez [Daly Cherry-Evans] and Jake [Trbojevic] led the boys really well. Really proud. We probably weren't too far away last week against the Broncos, so to come back home and beat the Storm, there's a lot to like about the performance." - Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold

Storm: Round 12

"Our start in both halves was poor, especially at the start of the game. I think we went 25 minutes and to complete not even 50 percent, that put a lot of pressure on us. I thought we showed a lot of resilience to not get too far behind, obviously, we're 12 behind at one stage, but showed some resilience to come back from that. But you can't start games like that and expect to win them at this level, so that's I think where we lost it." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

What's Next

Both teams will have the bye in Round 13 before returning to action on Sunday of Round 14 with Origin players likely to back up from their Game One commitments on Wednesday night.

The Sea Eagles travel to Penrith to take on the defending premiers while Melbourne host Newcastle at AAMI Park, which could see the return of star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen from his ankle injury.

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.