Melbourne Storm have pulled off a remarkable against the grain victory to register a thrilling 24-22 win over Wests Tigers at AAMI Park on Thursday night.
The Storm looked dead and buried when they trailed by eight (22-14) with a little over 10 minutes remaining. But late tries to Marion Seve in the 69th minute and Will Chambers in the 77th ensured the majority of the 11,402 crowd went home happy.
The two competition points moves the Storm back to the top of the Telstra Premiership ladder with eight victories. But it might have come at a cost with interchange forward Christian Welch suffering a suspected ACL injury when he hurt his knee just before half-time.
The Welch injury overshadowed the Storm' success, but the side will still be buoyed by the performance of young fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen in his sixth NRL game but his first start.
Papenhuyzen scored the opening try of the night with a brilliant 85 metre solo run, sweeping through timid defence from Chris McQueen and Robbie Farah. He continued to look dangerous with ball in hand any time he was given room to move.
The 20-year-old also looked solid in defence, with the likes of Benji Marshall, Farah and Luke Brooks providing Papenhuyzan and other Storm defenders with plenty to ponder during an entertaining contest.
Papenhuyzen goes 85 metres
The loss was somewhat harsh on the Tigers, who dominated much of the match and got a vintage performance from Marshall in his entertaining battle against Storm counterpart Cameron Munster.
But the Tigers will rue the fact they let the lead slip in the closing stages, inviting the Storm to record an unlikely victory.
Marshall's kicking game was on song early for the Tigers, with the veteran forcing a pair of repeat sets that allowed the visitors plenty of possession in the first 20 minutes.
They converted that early dominance into a 6-2 advantage courtesy of three Esan Marsters' penalty goals, but the Storm hit back shortly after when Papenhuyzen escaped the two tacklers and sprinted away untouched.
The Tigers hit back quickly though through a rampaging Josh Aloiai, who was awarded a try despite the fact a teammate appeared to take out one of the Storm defenders.
Brodie Croft coughed up possession early in the tackle count on the first set after the break and the Tigers made him pay as Brooks crossed over out wide to put the Tigers out by eight (16-8).
Felise Kaufusi got on the end of a clever kick from Munster to help the Storm draw back within two, only for the Tigers to hit back straight away when Marsters got on the end of a pin-point Marshall ball.
Moses Mbye almost sealed it when he went close - held up over the line in the 60th minute. But Seve did what the Tigers fullback failed to do as he crossed over with 10 minutes remaining to setup the grandstand finish.
And Chambers finished off the remarkable triumph when he barged over to seal the winints for Craig Bellamy's side.
Match: Storm v Wests Tigers
Round 10 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne