Wests Tigers have gone down 28-6 to the Melbourne Storm in their Round 21 Simon Dwyer Tribute Match at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Monday night.
With rookie halfback Luke Brooks a late withdrawal from the match due to a shoulder injury, Curtis Sironen partnered Blake Austin in the halves for somewhat of a makeshift combination, but it quickly turned positive for Mick Potter’s men as they dominated early field position and possession against their more-fancied opponents.
And that early domination would soon turn to points, with Mitchell Moses feeding Sitaleki Akauola on the right wing for the first try of the match after eight minutes.
Pat Richards nailed the sideline conversion to push the lead to 6-0.
The Storm were denied a try to Jesse Bromwich shortly after due to an obstruction ruling, but they quickly found a way to level the match as Ben Roberts kicked across field to find an unmarked Marika Koroibete, who scored out wide against his former club.
Cameron Smith converted to level the match at 6-6 after 20 minutes.
The Fijian international Koroibete soon had a double, with Cooper Cronk’s cut-out ball hitting the winger on the chest in the 22nd minute.
Smith had no problem with the extras, and the Storm took a 12-6 lead.
The match destined to be heading into half-time with the scoreline remaining the same, but a flat ball from Cronk sent Will Chambers over next to the posts with just three minutes remaining in the half to take the score to 18-6.
And while the hosts would have two appeals for sin-bins on both Cronk and Billy Slater heading into the final minute of the match — as well as a penalty goal attempt from Moses — they would be unable to make any dent on the deficit, as the Storm took an 18-6 lead into the sheds at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
The visitors quickly built on their half-time advantage after the break when a pinpoint kick from Cronk found Sisa Waqa on the wing, who outleapt Tim Simona to extend the lead to 22-6 after 50 minutes. They would then go even further in front just two mintues later, when Roberts, Cronk and Slater combined to send Smith over under the posts.
Smith’s successful conversion pushed the lead to 28-6 with 25 minutes to play.
Blake Austin looked to have peg the margin back a little in the 62nd minute when he spun his way over, but he was adjudged to have spilled the ball in the process.
That would be the final attacking chance of the night, as a missed penalty goal from Ben Roberts from right in front of the posts saw the scoreline remain 28-6.
The loss leaves Wests Tigers with a crucial away clash next Saturday against the North Queensland Cowboys as they seek to keep their 2014 finals hopes alive.
Final: Melbourne Storm 28 def. Wests Tigers 6