Wests Tigers stun Storm in Auckland
Wests Tigers have produced another stunning upset to down the Melbourne Storm for the second time in four weeks, courtesy of a field goal from Benji Marshall.
Ivan Cleary's side looked down and out on several occasions against the Storm, but rallied from behind in the second half to snatch an victory with five minutes remaining on the clock.
The result sees Wests Tigers beat the Storm twice in the same season for the first time in club history, while also cementing the side in the top four of the competition through the first five weeks of the year.
It was a strong start from Ivan Cleary's in front of the home crowd at Mount Smart Stadium, with the hosts going agonisingly close to posting first points on the day with a number of close calls.
Malakai Watene-Zelezniak was stopped just short off a dropped bomb from Suliasi Vunivalu, while Esan Marsters held up over the line after getting outside his opposite number out on the right wing.
Eventually, it would be Melbourne who chalked up the first points of the day with a penalty goal to Scott close to the posts — one of the five penalties that would go the way of the Storm in the first half.
Their lead wouldn't last long, however, with a howler from Josh Addo-Carr trying to keep the ball in play giving Marsters the chance to redeem himself. The centre would collect an errant pass from Addo-Carr, before offloading for Josh Aloiai to steam through and crash over for his first try of the year.
Lolohea was unable to convert from out wide, leaving the hosts' lead at just two points.
Wests Tigers should have been entering the sheds with the lead at 4-2; however, an error right on the stroke of half-time allowed the Storm one final attacking set which they duly turned in to points — Cameron Munster with a clever kick in behind to give Billy Slater a simple put down in the corner.
Croft made no mistake with the conversion to give Melbourne an 8-4 lead at the break.
The halfback would extend Melbourne's lead soon after the interval with another penalty goal, before Chris Lawrence continued his superb afternoon with a crucial try off a short ball from Luke Brooks.
The four-pointer not only took the score to 10-all, it also saw Lawrence become the club's all-time top try-scorer with his 77th try — passing teammate and close friend Benji Marshall on 76.
Not to be out done, however, Marshall would have the most telling moment on the match with a field goal five minutes from time ensuring Wests Tigers would emerge with a hard-fought 11-10 victory.
Wests Tigers 11 (Aloiai, Lawrence tries; Lolohea 1/2 goals; Marshall field goal) def. Melbourne Storm 10 (Slater tries; Croft 3/3 goals) at Mount Smart Stadium