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Storm hammer Warriors to remain atop ladder

The Storm have continued their long-standing dominance over the Warriors after overcoming an early deficit to record a comprehensive 38-24 win in Auckland on Saturday night.

While there was plenty of drama to come later in the contest, the ladder-leaders set themselves up for their 16th-straight victory over the Kiwi side with a gritty defensive showing through an opening quarter in which next to nothing went their way. 

Having hit the 13th minute mark with just eight percent of the possession and 68 completed tackles to their opponents' eight, Melbourne would have taken heart from being down only 8-0, and by half-time they'd fought back to lead 20-4. 

After Adam Pompey bowled over from close range and the Warriors added a penalty goal, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad popped a no-look flick pass behind his back to find an unmarked Marcelo Montoya in the corner.  

But when finally given the chance to get off their own line, the Storm took immediate advantage, with Eliesa Katoa taking the ball from the grasp of Pompey on a kick defusal and falling over the line, before Grant Anderson finished athletically in the corner. 

Grant Anderson Try

Katoa was at the heart of the action again minutes later after he streamed through a gap and linked with a supporting Nick Meaney. 

A miraculous goal-line intervention from Trent Loiero and Sua Faalogo denied the Warriors first points after the break, as they held up a rampaging Marata Niukore, but there was no stopping Mitchell Barnett a couple of minutes later. 

The Storm don't crack

That try however would be the last of the celebrating the Warriors did for a while, with Montoya's sin-binning for a professional foul coinciding with Faalogo's try to stretch the lead, before he was joined in the bin by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak after he was pinged for a dangerous tackle. 

By the time Xavier Coates got over for Melbourne's sixth with 17 minutes to play, the energy had well and truly been zapped from the capacity crowd of 24,495 at Go Media Stadium. 

Montoya grabbed his double with five to play, but it was too little too late to prevent the Warriors suffering their first defeat in a month, with Faalogo carving the hosts open for a four-pointer that put the icing on the cake with a minute to spare. 

Match Snapshot

  • The Storm have now won 16 games in a row over the Warriors, stretching back to 2016. 
  • Rocco Berry suffered a shoulder injury two minutes from half-time and did not return.
  • The Warriors had both Marcelo Montoya (professional foul) and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (dangerous tackle) sent to the sin bin in the second half, with Watene-Zelezniak also put on report for the incident.

Watene-Zelezniak sent to the bin

  • Te Maire Martin went on report on 51 minutes for a tackle on Sua Faalogo. 
  • Storm winger Xavier Coates has now scored 10 tries in his last six games against the Warriors.

Xavier Coates Try

Play of the Game

With their first possession of significance in the opposition's 20 the Storm got a result which completely changed momentum, and it was all down to the awareness and effort of former Warrior Eliesa Katoa. With Adam Pompey having cleanly taken a bomb, Katoa had the presence of mind to reach up for the ball at the end of his kick pressure and ended up taking possession and falling over the line. 

Eliesa Katoa Try

What They Said

"Physically, I thought we were outstanding and I thought we looked so strong and dominant but every error had an unbelievably negative result from it. You can go through a game and make errors and sometimes they might hurt you – tonight, anything negative wasn't little, it was massive. They took advantage of that. All the stats, we won them, except the scoreboard." – Warriors coach Andrew Webster

Warriors: Round 15

"I can't remember ever starting a game that badly, but the guys showed a lot of resilience to come back into the game. We know the Warriors are a good side so to have the start we had and come back and win the game, that was a pretty good effort." – Storm coach Craig Bellamy

Storm: Round 15

What's Next

The Storm will next head to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Dolphins on Friday night, with both sides set to be missing stars on Origin duty. The Warriors head across to the Gold Coast to take on the Titans on Saturday.

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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