Suliasi Vunivalu dives over to score a try for the Storm. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)
Suliasi Vunivalu dives over to score a try for the Storm. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Storm slay sloppy Knights

AN error-riddled Newcastle quashed any hope they had of upsetting the Melbourne Storm as they went down 28-10 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The Knights' improved defence, that had allowed them to go toe-to-toe with the Roosters just last week, was again on display, but poor execution stunted their attack and gifted possession to the Storm.

A lead of 14-6 at the break was probably kind on how the Knights had performed as they went into the break with 9-1 error count.

That continued though as errors sat at 17-8 in the Knights' favour by full-time, this despite coach Nathan Brown emphasising the need to make sure of passes before taking their chances closer to the line.

 

The Knights have been hurt by a number of key players being out with injury but it was simple handling that hurt them against a clinical Storm.

The withdrawal of Jacob Lillyman leading into the game robbed Newcastle of another experienced head with Mitchell Pearce and Jamie Buhrer injured along with the Saifiti brothers, Nathan Ross and Tautau Moga.

But in fairness the scoreline could have been greater.

Newcastle collapsed under the weight of their own errors. AAP Image/Darren Pateman
Newcastle collapsed under the weight of their own errors. AAP Image/Darren Pateman

The Storm ran into a strong wind in the first half, which seemed to limit their scoring opportunities against a desperate Knights defence.

Both teams had trouble adjusting their passing while kicks were picked up mid-flight.

Two of the Storm's Origin players were able to capitalise and inflict damage at key points.

NSW winger Josh Addo-Carr scored two long-range tries after supporting his five-eighth and Maroons half Cameron Munster.

The first came in the first half when scores were tied at six near the break.

The Knights just couldn’t get the job done. AAP Image/Darren Pateman
The Knights just couldn’t get the job done. AAP Image/Darren Pateman

Newcastle attacked from 10 out on the last, but Addo-Carr read a Connor Watson attempt to grubber through and trapped it with his feet.

Munster pounced on the loose ball and then delivered it back to 'The Fox' and he raced the field to score and give the Storm the lead at the break.

It was an almost identical finish to one that came 15 minutes into the second half.

The Storm led by just six when Munster slipped through the tackle of Aiden Guerra and Herman Ese'ese on the restart from penalty conversion.

Melbourne will keep touch with the top four. Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images
Melbourne will keep touch with the top four. Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images

He found his flying winger on his shoulder again to take the Storm's lead out to a more comfortable 12 with the conversation.

Five minutes later it went out to 18 after the Storm shifted the ball wide on the last 10 out from the Knights line where Felise Kaufusi exposed the inexperienced Cory Denniss.

The second-rower held the ball up long enough to commit the centre to the tackle and it was a quick shift through to Suliasi Vunivali to dive over in the corner.

MELBOURNE 28 (J Addo-Carr 2 R Jacks S Vunivalu tries C Smith 6 goals) bt NEWCASTLE 10 (K Ponga K Sio tries K Ponga goal) at McDonald Jones Stadium. Referee: Chris Butler, Adam Gee. Crowd: 14,803