Storm get out of jail against Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm get out of jail against Knights

By David Beniuk 20/03/2010 11:43:40 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne have performed a Houdini act against a Newcastle side determined to repay their supporters' faith, notching an unconvincing 20-14 NRL victory at Energy Australia Stadium.

Storm five-eighth Brett Finch strolled through some threadbare defence from dummy-half to set up a 70th-minute winning try for centre Dane Nielsen after the Storm had trailed 14-0 in the first half.

The premiers then withstood a relentless second half barrage from the Knights.

Playing their first home game since a drugs scandal rocked their off-season and threatened their year, the spirited Knights did everything but put the premiers away in a 10-minute period of the second half after leading 14-12 at the break.

Nielsen's try came against the run of play and silenced the loyal crowd of 16, 242 after they had willed the hapless Knights to get home in a high-quality clash.

Newcastle hammered the Melbourne line during a 10-minute period of the second half but, despite two uncharacteristic handling blunders from Greg Inglis, couldn't force their way over to increase their lead.

They were denied twice in two minutes, first when prop Evarn Tuimavave was controversially called back when a Knights strip was ruled a knock-on, and then when a Jarrod Mullen pass to Akuila Uate was ruled forward.

Then winger Copper Vuna was tackled into touch close to the line in the 63rd minute.

The Knights raced out to a 14-0 lead after 21 minutes before the Storm replied with two tries, both from former Newcastle players.

A scintillating 70m run from Uate resulted in the Knights winger crossing for the first try a play later in the seventh minute before five-eighth Mullen sent a pinpoint cut-out ball for Adam MacDougall to stroll over in the 21st.

After some uncharacteristic errors in attack, the Storm finally got its together in the 26th minute when a flying Billy Slater sent MacDougall's younger brother Luke over out wide for 14-4.

The visitors' fightback continued after Newcastle had thrown the ball into touch at their own end and Smith sent another former Knight, Anthony Quinn, over in the 33rd minute.

It was a night to remember for the MacDougall brothers.

Apart from their tries, elder sibling Adam kept Inglis quiet all night while Luke defused several Knights bombs and was involved in the try-saving tackle on Vuna.

"There's plenty of people who came up to see the Knights play and see how they were going to go after last week, I think they wouldn't have gone away disappointed with the effort or the resolve we showed again," Knights coach Rick Stone said.

"I think they'd be proud of their footy side. I know I am."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said his side's resilience at their own end was the difference and reserved special praise for 28-year-old Finch.

"I thought he was certainly our best player tonight," he said.

"The reason we brought Finchy to the club ... he's just a competitor.

"He wants to be involved in every play if he could.

"When the team's in trouble, he's the one trying to get you out of trouble.

"When you're on the front foot, he wants to get you further on the front foot."

And the Melbourne coach agreed superstar Inglis had been far from his best.

"I thought his involvement tonight was a lot better than it was last week but he certainly came up with a couple of errors there and we had a couple of touchy moments down our left hand side defensively as well."

Storm forward Adam Blair was placed on report for a 65th minute incident in which his forearm appeared to come into contact with Knights prop Ben Ross' head.

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