Sport Rugby League Warriors maintain their hold over Storm

Warriors maintain their hold over Storm

Konrad Hurrell
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Melbourne Storm’s season remains in free-fall, with their 16-10 Anzac Day loss to the Warriors their fourth defeat from their past five matches..

A record sold-out crowd of 28,716 turned out but Melbourne’s AAMI Park fortress is now on shaky ground, a possibly serious ankle injury to centre Justin O’Neill compounding their misery.

Second-last on the ladder, the Warriors always rise for the challenge of playing the Storm, and the win snapped a three-game losing streak, and provided a first win for coach Andrew McFadden.

With electric halfback Shaun Johnson pulling the strings for their fast and physical backline, they led from start to finish in a high quality match played at a frantic pace.

The visitors repeatedly tested the home side’s problematic defence and while the Storm delivered an improved performance, there were still worrying cracks.

The Warriors led 12-6 at halftime, which could have been far greater after dominating possession and territory.

They opened the scoring in the ninth minute through winger David Fusitua, who showed incredible athleticism to plant the ball as he was being tackled into touch by Billy Slater.

The lead was out to 10-0 when Feleti Mateo ran on to a Simon Mannering pass and crossed untouched under the posts.

The Storm got on the scoreboard in the 37th minute when halfback Cooper Cronk finally got some rewards for his efforts, finding Kevin Proctor on the charge for the second-rower to touch down.

It looked like they would trail by only four points before Kiwi international Johnson slotted a penalty after halftime after a decoy play went wrong for the home side.

Melbourne started the second half in strong fashion and Ryan Hoffman set up a try for winger Young Tonumaipea to get them within two points.

But the Warriors also lifted and Johnson added a try of his own after combining with Fusitua.

Johnson missed two field goal attempts but they held out a late Storm charge to clinch the win.