Melbourne cleared away in the final quarter to beat the Vodafone Junior Warriors 36-14 in tonight’s eighth-round NYC clash at AAMI Park.
When winger Lafu Feagaiga scored early in the second half the Vodafone Junior Warriors were just 14-16 behind as they went in search of their fifth win in their last six starts.
A combination of factors worked against them, though.
The Storm took a penalty goal opportunity to go 18-14 ahead before adding four tries to surge to a 36-14 win, the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ cause not helped by captain Mason Lino spending minutes in the sin bin for a professional foul.
There wasn’t much in the contest in the opening 40 minutes.
After the Storm had opened the scoring, the Vodafone Junior Warriors levelled up 4-4 with a Ken Maumalo try wide out.
Another Melbourne effort was cancelled out when the powerful Solomone Kata scored to lock it up again at 10-10 before the Storm added a third to lead 16-10 at halftime.
Feagaiga’s second try in consecutive weeks had his side back in contention but the chance of a third straight win faded as the Storm took control of the last stanza to secure their fourth win of the season and join the Vodafone Junior Warriors on eight points on the ladder.
After time off for next weekend’s representative programme, the Vodafone Junior Warriors return for their ninth match of the season against the Canberra Raiders at Eden Park on May 10.
At AAMI Park, Melbourne
Melbourne Storm 36 (Josh Minhinnick 2, Cameron Munster, Christian Welch, Francis Tualau, Charlie Galo, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad tries; Cameron Munster 3 conversions, penalty).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 14 (Ken Maumalo, Solomone Kata, Lafu Feagaiga tries; Mason Lino conversion).
Halftime: 16-10 Storm.
Referee: Peter Gough.
Vodafone Junior Warriors: Brad Abbey; Lafu Feagaiga, Ken Maumalo, Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard, Tomas Aoake; Mafoa’aeata Hingano, Mason Lino (c); Sam Lisone (c), Kurt Robinson, Toafofoa Sipley; Michael Ki, Ofahiki Ogden; Kouma Samson. Interchange: Iulio Afoa, James Bell, James Taylor, Solomone Kata.