Four sin bins, a send-off and time-keeping drama as Manly beat Storm
Melbourne centre Curtis Scott has become the first player to be sent off since David Shillington in 2015 as the Storm were beaten 24-4 by the Manly Sea Eagles in an explosive clash at AAMI Park.
There was niggle between Scott and Manly five-eighth Dylan Walker for most of the first half, but when Scott lashed out in the 52nd minute he left his team with 12 men for the rest of the match.
Walker was given 10 minutes in the bin for his part in the melee as was his team-mate Api Koroisau for also throwing a punch.
The Manly pair were sent to the bin with 28:13 minutes left on the clock, according to Fox Sports, and Koroisau and Matthew Wright returned to the field with 19:54 remaining in the match (Wright was replacing Walker, who was having a head injury assessment).
Storm management were be angry over the apparent anomaly in the amount of time the Manly players were off the field but coach Craig Bellamy said after the match he would leave it to the authorities to look at.
Match: Storm vs Sea Eagles
Venue: AAMI Park
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"The NRL will conduct a review of the timing of the dismissals and the process,'' an NRL spokesperson said.
"The responsibility of timing for sin bins is held by the clubs, although in this instance, it appears there were no club-supplied sin bin operators present at the venue."
Trent Barrett's men have now put together back-to-back wins against heavyweights Brisbane and Melbourne after a horror month in which they lost five on the trot.
The Storm were their own worst enemies with 15 errors and a completion rate of just 63% throughout the game.
It also highlighted Melbourne's inability to win without regular skipper Cameron Smith, who watched grimly alongside Craig Bellamy in the coaches' box. The Storm have won only seven of their past 22 games without Smith.
A crowd of 13,172 didn't have much to crow about in the first half as Manly - with 63% of the possession - threw the ball around and found space down their right edge.
The Storm struggled to put any continuity together with dropped balls from the usually reliable Billy Slater and Suliasi Vunivalu halting their attack.
It took 20 minutes until the first points were scored, with Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans slotting a close-range penalty goal.
Cameron Munster equalled 14 minutes later and the teams went to the break 2-2.
That's when the match turned on its head.
The Scott-Walker-Koroisau melee opened up the game and it was Manly who kept their composure to post a win that could be the turning point of their season.
With 11 men on the field Manly created an overlap down the left hand side and Uate finished the try in spectacular fashion.The winger then produced another huge play in the 65th minute when he denied Will Chambers a try with some desperation defence.
Cherry-Evans then set up Tom Trbojevic's try with a pinpoint grubber kick to make it 16-4 and Trent Hodkinson stretched the margin 16 with two late penalty goals. A try to Moses Suli in the dying seconds iced a huge win for Manly, who face the Raiders in Canberra next Friday.
News & Notes: Trent Hodkinson played his first game for the Sea Eagles since 2010... Former Victorian Thunderbolt captain Harry Grant made his NRL debut and ex-Warrior Toafofoa Sipley played his first game for the Sea Eagles... Manly's Jake Trbojevic and Melbourne's Josh Addo-Carr were the other two players sin-binned ... Manly's win was just their second ever at AAMI Park.