A Cameron Smith field goal secured Melbourne a pulsating 23-22 golden-point round-one NRL win over Manly at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night.
In the final minute of the first period of extra time, the Storm captain calmly slotted the match winner from 20m out straight in front to secure a dramatic come-from-behind win after they trailed 20-0 just 30 minutes in.
It was Smith’s second attempt at field goal in the extra-time period and came after Dunamis Lui dropped the ball from a poor Daly Cherry-Evans pass 30m out from the Melbourne line.
With Cooper Cronk missing for the Storm and Jorge Taufua and David Williams out for Manly, the Sea Eagles jumped out to a 20-0 lead but the game swung dramatically the Storm’s way in the second half.
With Brett Stewart not returning due to a hamstring problem, the Storm scored 18 unanswered points in 26 minutes to edge ahead 22-20.
After trailing 20-4 at the break, Sisa Waqa scored in the 47th minute off a lovely long ball from Billy Slater.
Ben Hampton stepped his way over from close range five minutes later and, with the Smith conversion, the visitors had pegged Manly’s lead back to 20-14 after 53 minutes.
Kenny Bromwich then crossed after Hampton claimed a Ben Roberts kick next to the posts and passed the ball on.
Smith’s conversion tied the scores up at 20-20.
The Kangaroos’ captain missed his first chance to put the Storm ahead with a penalty attempt in the 61st minute from 20m out adjacent to the posts.
But Smith made no mistake after Justin Horo was put on report for a high hit on Hampton to put the Storm ahead 22-20.
Five minutes from time, Hampton was penalised for a high shot on Matt Ballin and Jamie Lyon landed the penalty to tie the scores.
Manly dominated the opening exchanges and Steve Matai opened the scoring in just the fourth minute.
Cheyse Blair crossed in the 13th minute after the Sea Eagles again found extra numbers out wide.
With Lyon’s first conversion of the night, Manly led 10-0.
Horo added to that lead when he crossed in the 20th minute pouncing on a Brett Stewart grubber.
Matai secured his double in the 29th minute with Melbourne again caught short out wide and, with the conversion, Manly led 20-0.
Melbourne gave themselves a chance of victory when Waqa latched on a high Smith crossfield kick after dropping the ball short of the line only minutes before.
The result continued a series of close games between the two rivals. They played out a golden-point 10-10 draw in May last year at AAMI Park.