Storm leave it late to beat Warriors
The Melbourne Storm have jumped to the top of the Telstra Premiership table for the time being with a 21-14 road victory over the Warriors on Sunday.
A field goal to Cooper Cronk and a try to Marika Koroibete inside the final three minutes lifted the Storm to the win, after scores had been tied at 14-14.
The Storm had led the match from the 12th to the 62nd minute, but had to survive a late comeback from a determined Warriors side at Mt Smart Stadium.
The win means Craig Bellamy's men are the first team this year to get to three victories while they also won back the Michael Moore Trophy, which goes on the line every time the two clubs meet.
A late decision to switch Kiwi enforcer Kenny Bromwich to the starting side paid dividends on 12 minutes for the Storm, after he latched onto an accurate Cooper Cronk grubber.
The try followed repeat sets for Melbourne, and was converted by captain Cameron Smith.
The Warriors responded swiftly though, and following a penalty on halfway they produced a neat right-side shift which Tuimoala Lolohea finished with a cutback inside his marker.
With Shaun Johnson unable to add the extras the Warriors still trailed 6-4.
Continuing the trend of tries following penalties, Melbourne fullback Cameron Munster took advantage of back-to-back uses of the ball for the Storm, getting on the outside of Jeff Robson and accelerating through to the line for a converted try.
The visitors looked to have added another three minutes from the break when Koroibete went over, but it was overturned after the bunker ruled obstruction earlier in the play.
Instead the Storm took a 12-4 lead to the sheds.
A strong carry from Warriors captain Ryan Hoffman seven minutes into the second stanza saw him fall just short of the line, before centre Solomone Kata caught the Storm markers napping and darted over for the home side's second.
Nineteen minutes from time a looping cut-out pass from Jeff Robson found Jonathan Wright in space, with the Northern Lake junior finishing to tie things up at 12-12.
Johnson added his first successful conversion for the day to take the lead, but just minutes later the Storm opted to take the two after Bodene Thompson was ruled to have spent too long in the tackle and squared the ledger once again at 14-all.
But in the end the Storm proved too classy in the dying stages, taking the lead via Cronk's field goal before Koroibete scooped up a dropped ball from the Warriors to dart 50 metres and put the result beyond doubt.
Melbourne are on the road again next Monday to face the Sharks, while for the Warriors a first win in eight months continues to elude them ahead of hosting the Knights in eight days.
Melbourne Storm 21 (Kenneath Bromwich, Cameron Munster, Marika Koroibete; Cameron Smith 4 goals; Cooper Cronk field goal) defeated Warriors 14 (Tuimoala Lolohea, Solomone Kata, Jonathan Wright tries; Shaun Johnson 1 goals). Half-time: Storm 12-4. Crowd: 16,214