Wests Tigers shocked their hosts Melbourne Storm to secure a shock 10-8 victory today at AAMI Park in a game that marked Storm superstar Billy Slater’s 300th NRL game.
Felise Kaufusi was out of the Storm side with a hamstring injury, with Joe Stimson replacing him. Slater returned at fullback after missing last week’s game in Perth, with Cameron Munster moving to stand-off and Ryley Jacks dropping out of the side.
For the Tigers Tuimoala Lolohea was out of the side after failing a fitness test. David Nofoaluma came into the starting side at fullback, while Josh Aloiai replaced Michael Chee Kam on the bench.
In a game that was tightly contested throughout, Wests centre Esan Marsters scored the only points in the first half with two penalty goals against a Storm team that was failing to fire and that went closest on 32 minutes when former Widnes fullback Corey Thompson force Cameron Munster to lose the ball in the in-goal.
Marsters kicked his third penalty goal after 57 minutes, before Suliasi Vunivalu finally touched down for Melbourne on 63 minutes, although Cameron Smith missed the conversion.
But he then added two penalties to give the Storm an 8-6 lead with nine minutes remaining.
But when Vunivalu spilt a Thompson grubber, and after more Tigers pressure, their halfback Luke Brooks crossed the line to secure a notable victory for a club that had been ranked as one of the outsiders before the start of the season.
Storm: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 19 Joe Stimson, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Dale Finucane; Interchange: 14 Tim Glasby, 15 Kenny Bromwich, 16 Christian Welch, 17 Sam Kasiano
Tries: Vunivalu; Goals: Smith 2
19 David Nofoaluma, 2 Corey Thompson, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Russell Packer, 9 Pita Godinet, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Robbie Rochow, 13 Elijah Taylor; Interchange: 14 Matt McIlwrick 15 Alex Twal, 17 Matthew Eisenhuth, 18 Josh Aloiai
Tries: Brooks; Goals: Marsters 3
Full match reports from all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express