Last Time Played: Storm v Tigers
The Storm defeated the Wests Tigers 12-4 before a capacity crowd of 20,000 at Leichhardt Oval in Round 15 last season.
Melbourne drew first blood when Ryan Hinchcliffe crossed in the 17th minute after Cooper Cronk put Gareth Widdop into space with a lovely inside pass 40 metres out from the Tigers’ try line, before the five-eighth delivered to Hinchcliffe with an inside ball of his own.
Benji Marshall engineered the Wests Tigers’ first points with a breathtaking 30-metre cut-out pass to right winger Beau Ryan who scooted 12 metres to touch down unopposed in the 24th minute, before Kevin Proctor exposed some flimsy Tigers defence to crash over off a Cooper Cronk short ball nine minutes before halftime for a 12-4 lead at the break.
Scoring opportunities were limited in the second half as the game developed into an arm wrestle – although the Wests Tigers narrowly failed to add to their tally when Andrew Fifita’s grounding of a spilled Billy Slater bomb was rightly disallowed by the video referee.
Slater starred for the visitors with 141 metres and nine tackle busts while the Tigers were best served by back-rower Gareth Ellis (126 metres, 35 tackles) and lock Chris Heighington (16 hit-ups, 127 metres, 29 tackles).
The Storm were forced to make 50 more tackles than their opposition but managed three line-breaks to the Wests Tigers’ one.