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Munster, Meaney fire as Storm outlast injury-hit Warriors

With Cameron Munster and Harry Grant coming to the party when it mattered the Storm downed an injury-hit Warriors side 30-22 at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.

The Warriors had no players on the bench in the final 10 minutes and it was a line break by Munster and a try to Grant out of dummy half that snuffed out the visitors' brave challenge.

Early on it was the Warriors making the ideal start in their bid to avenge last year's 60-point Anzac Day drubbing when edge forward Jackson Ford powered onto a Dylan Walker pass to cross for his second try of the season in the fifth minute.

Six minutes later the visitors had a second try when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad's slick hands put Dallin Watene-Zelezniak over on the right side and Shaun Johnson converted for 12-0.

A monster 40-20 kick by Cameron Munster in the 15th minute gave the Storm the chance to hit back and Justin Olam delivered the four-pointer to make it 12-6 to the Warriors.

Ford opens the scoring for the Warriors

No sooner had the Storm closed the gap than they let Addin Fonua-Blake march straight through the middle of the ruck to grab the Warriors' third try and the margin was back to 12 points.

When Johnson gave away a penalty for going a metre over the goal line when he launched a dropout, the Storm made him pay immediately through a try to Munster and the home side were right back in it at 18-12.

Despite being a man down the Warriors struck first in the second when Adam Pompey delivered a superb pass for Watene-Zelezniak to grab his second try and the margin was back to 10.

Grant and Munster combine

Just three minutes later the Storm hit back when Xavier Coates found space down the left and grubbered back inside for Nick Meaney to regather and score his sixth try of the season.

A barnstorming run by Olam and a couple of six-again calls put Melbourne on the front foot and Meaney grabbed his second try off a Jahrome Hughes kick to put the Storm ahead 24-22 with 21 minutes to play.

With Nicoll-Klokstad failing a HIA, Jazz Tevaga hobbling off injured and Bayley Sironen forced off for a HIA, the Warriors were down to 13 players for the final 10 minutes and Harry Grant finished them off with a try out of dummy half in the 76th minute.

The Storm have now won their past 14 clashes against the Warriors and have climbed to fifth on the ladder ahead of a bye in Round 9.

Match snapshot

  • Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster kicked his first 40-20 of the season in the 15th minute and grabbed the 50th try of his career later in the half.
  • Warriors skipper Tohu Harris was forced off with a knee injury in the closing minutes of the first half.
  • Storm forward Eliesa Katoa left the field for a HIA in the 39th minute. Warriors five-eighth Dylan Walker was sin binned for the tackle on Katoa which the bunker deemed as a head slam.
  • Warriors bench forward Bayley Sironen left the field for a HIA in the 71st minute.
  • Cameron Munster shone for the Storm with 160 run metres, one try assist, one try and six tackle breaks.

Olam gets one for the Storm

  • Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake ran for 177 metres from 20 hit-ups and had seven tackle breaks.
  • Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona came into the game in the 22nd minute and had eight runs for 96 metres in a devastating burst leading up to half-time. He finished the night with 168 run metres.
  • The Warriors completed 35 of 39 sets at 89 per cent while the Storm were 33 of 39 sets at 84 per cent.
  • Warriors fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad left the field in the 56th minute for a HIA after collecting the hip of Tariq Sims when trying to make a tackle. He failed the HIA.
  • The Warriors have not won an Anzac Day game against the Storm since 2014.
  • Nick Meaney had one of his best games for Melbourne with 21 runs for 218 metres, four tackle breaks and a line break and was rewarded with the Spirit of Anzac Medal as player of the match.

Walker sent to the sin bin

Play of the Game

It's not a replay Craig Bellamy, Tariq Sims or Christian Welch will want to watch but Addin Fonua-Blake's try in the 22nd minute was a thing of beauty if you're a Warriors fan. Fonua-Blake set the tone early with 10 runs for 106 metres and when he powered through the heart of the Storm defence to score under the sticks he had his third try of the season and the 18th of his career. The 27-year-old's best ever season for tryscoring was 2019 when he crossed five times for Manly but the way he has started 2023 he is well on track to better that mark.

The Warriors are on in Melbourne

What They Said

"I didn't want to play Nelson in that first 20 minutes and blow him out for the rest of the game and I reckon it was the right decision because after about 25 minutes they had had about 70 per cent of the ball so we probably brought him on at a good time and the Warriors found it real hard to handle him. He changed the momentum for us. I was really happy the way we fought back when we went down 12-0 and then 18-6 and the boys just hung in there and Munster came up with a couple of big plays." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

Storm: Round 8

"We didn't have the bodies or the energy to move the ball around [late in the game], we had to grind with our outside backs and give our forwards a carry and then kick-chase and keep trying to stay in it. If we just got a moment, an error or a penalty, it could have been the difference where we had another crack at them. I don't want us to get confused being proud and kind of making excuses for moments, we had enough moments there we needed to own and execute... the boys know they're a good football team but we have to keep working on things and make moments happen more." - Warriors coach Andrew Webster

Warriors: Round 8

What's Next

The Storm have the bye in Round 9 before a blockbuster clash with the Rabbitohs on the Saturday night of Magic Round.

The Warriors are back on home turf at Mt Smart Stadium to face the Roosters in Round 9 before a clash against premiers Penrith in Magic Round in Brisbane.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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