Our weekly feature - The Armchair Expert - returns just in time for the finals!
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Cooper Who? The Storm's future looks set with a new breed of stars shining after a 23-22 golden point victory over the North Queensland Cowboys in a thrilling affair in front of 17,000 fans,
The Cowboys started the better of the two sides and at 2-0 it took the Cowboys a minute to get the first try of the match when Kyle Feldt crossed in the corner off the back of some good plays by Cowboys debutant Kyle Laybutt and veteran Justin O'Neill to score. Feldt kept his scoring rate up with a perfect conversion. A series of potential attacks by the Storm were thwarted by the Cowboys with strong defence and a bit of impatience from the Storm saw errors deep in attacking territory coming at a regular rate.
Down the other end of the field, the Cowboys were taking the safe options with another penalty goal to extend the lead to 10-0 and despite
making the running the Cowboys couldn't take the full advantage of it. From there a Purple Storm rolled into AAMI Park and with that the new breed came to life with Curtis Scott getting his first NRL try when he stepped past Lachlan Coote 1 on 1 to score and bring the scores back. Approaching the break the Storm thought they had got things back level however the Bunker needed just one still frame to uphold a no try live decision from Ben Cummins on a Josh Addo-Carr effort.
The Cowboys picked up the beginning of the second half the way the first started with Lachlan Coote getting over the line to score and a crucial missed conversion followed it for the Cowboys which could've proved costly later on.
Three tries in four minutes and the Storm rookies broke the game open with tries to Brandon Smith, Curtis Scott and Felise Kaufusi put the Storm into a position of strength. Eventually the Cowboys needed two tries within the last five minutes, a task shown just last week to be possible and it was nearly the case for the Cowboys when Kane Linnett scored. A moment of stupidity from Nelson Asofa Solomona gave the Cowboys a chance to get it to golden point by giving away a 79th minute penalty, Feldt took the shot and sent the game to golden point.
The Cowboys had first chance and it came off the back of a golden point penalty for a strip meant Lachlan Coote was in position for the shot but he missed the shot badly and the Storm got their chance. Brodie Croft showed his class not with the match-winning play but the lead up to it when Croft managed to get the ball to sit and plug on a 20c piece in the ingoal just centimetres from the dead ball line forcing the repeat set.
From there it was just a mere formality for the Storm in the next set and it was the man who created the chance for the win who took it when Brodie Croft sealed the field goal.
Next week, the Storm travel away to Adelaide for a clash in the city of churches against the Roosters meanwhile the Cowboys welcome back JT for game 300 up against the resurgent Penrith Panthers in Townsville.
Melbourne Storm 23 - North Queensland Cowboys 22
Venue: AAMI Park
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 6 North Queensland Cowboys 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Brodie Croft
2 points - Scott Bolton
1 points - Cameron Munster
MELBOURNE STORM (23)
Tries: Curtis Scott (2), Brandon Smith, Felise Kaufusi
Field Goals: Brodie Croft (1/1)
Conversions: Cameron Munster (3/4)
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (22)
Tries: Kyle Feldt, Lachlan Coote, Kane Linnett
Field Goals: Lachlan Coote (0/1)
Conversions: Kyle Feldt (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Kyle Feldt (3/3)