The Storm defeated the Warriors 32-14 at AAMI Park in their corresponding Anzac Day clash in Round 8 last season – five weeks before they would inflict a second defeat on Brian McClennan’s men with a 22-12 result at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 13.
The April 25 encounter featured a tight opening 40 minutes, with the Storm taking an unconvincing 10-6 lead to the halftime break.
The opening exchanges of the second stanza continued to be competitive, with the Warriors drawing level on the scoreboard in the 50th minute following a try to Lewis Brown. Justin O’Neill snatched back the advantage for the Storm with a try five minutes later, before Bill Tupou scored for the visitors with 17 minutes remaining to set up an exciting finish.
However, that signalled the end of the Warriors’ challenge with a series of errors handing the Storm the ascendancy, Melbourne running in three unanswered tries from the 69th minute – including a back-to-back double to centre Will Chambers.
Both teams achieved good completion rates (77 per cent Melbourne, 74 per cent Warriors) but the penalties (7-4 Melbourne), missed tackles (24 Warriors, 15 Storm) and line-breaks (4-2 Melbourne) statistics proved most telling.
The victory was the Storm’s eighth in a row, leaving them unbeaten in the NRL to that point in 2012.