Storm survive the loss of Smith to move into second

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Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights

Melbourne have moved into second place on the NRL ladder after recording a solid 10 point, 26-16 victory over the Knights, despite playing over half the match at Sunshine Coast Stadium without their mercurial leader Cameron Smith.

Smith left the field in the 27th minute with a shoulder complaint, which the Storm initially reported as being a low grade injury.

The Storm got off to a flying start when they scored in the fourth minute through a regulation block play. Marion Seve got a nice last pass along to Suliasi Vunivalu and the Fijian winger crossed untouched for an easy try. Cameron Smith nailed the difficult conversion.

The Knights though wasted no time to hit back. Just two minutes later Bradman Best received the ball on the left side, skipped out of a tackle then stepped back in to beat Ryan Papenhuyzen before strolling over the line for a great solo try. Ponga nailed the extras from out wide.

Melbourne regained the lead in the 25th minute when Dale Finucane sent a nice pass onto Kenny Bromwich, who ran through a yawning gap on halfway. He then threw a long ball inside to Cameron Smith who ran 20 metres to score to the left of the posts. Smith then converted his own try before leaving the field just a minute later.

The 'home side' crossed again with a brilliant try against the run of play after a poor kick from Kalyn Ponga was collected beautifully by Papenhuyzen off his toes. He then stepped Ponga before racing away to score a scintillating 80 metres try in the right corner. Cameron Munster took over the kicking duties and missed with this difficult attempt from the right sideline.

Right on halftime Munster slotted a penalty goal to give the Storm a lead by 2 converted tries.

The first ten minutes of the second half saw a few injuries for both sides, but it was the 49th minute sin binning of Knights bench player Pasami Saulo for his late hit on Jahrome Hughes after he kicked the ball that hurt the Knights comeback chances.

Munster kicked a penalty goal in the 54th minute to give the Storm a 20-6 lead.

In the 62nd minute, Ponga took on the line, straightened his run and then hit Aidan Guerra with a short ball. Guerra spun out of the weak tackle and fell over the line to score on the right side. Ponga added the extras.

Melbourne hit back just 4 minutes later when Brandon Smith picked up an offload from Christian Welch that hit the ground, he then got a pass to Tino Fa'asuamaleaui who broke through two defenders, busted the low tackle from Ponga and scored a brilliant try. Munster converted from almost in front.

The Knights kept coming and crossed again in the 74th minute when Kurt Mann put in a little grubber which found Enari Tuala on the left wing, who cleaned it up nicely and dived over to score in the corner. Ponga's conversion shaved the upright and was waved away.

Neither side troubled the scorer for the remaining 6 minutes, Melbourne doing enough to get the 2 points.

Melbourne Storm 26 - Newcastle Knights 16

Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium
Crowd: 5437
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 18 Newcastle Knights 6

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cameron Munster
2 points - Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
1 points - Ryan Papenhuyzen

MELBOURNE STORM (26)
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu, Cameron Smith, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
Field Goals:
Conversions: Cameron Smith (2/2), Cameron Munster (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Munster (2/2)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (16)
Tries: Bradman Best, Aidan Guerra, Enari Tuala
Field Goals:
Conversions: Kalyn Ponga (2/3)
Penalty Goals:


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