General Storm Stunned - Vodafone Warriors 24, Melbourne 20

Jesbass_old

Guest
From www.warriors.co.nz:

The Vodafone Warriors spoilt the party for Melbourne with a pulsating upset victory at Olympic Park on Saturday night.

With fullback Brent Webb scoring twice in the second half - his matchwinning second six minutes from time - the visitors halted the Storm's bid to secure their 12th successive NRL win this season.

And in doing so they ended Melbourne's run of 15 straight wins at home.

With fireworks blasting off pre-game, there was a party mood as Melbourne fans looked to celebrate the club's success in securing the minor premiership after nearest rivals the Bulldogs lost to Brisbane on Friday night.

But the only party going on after 80 minutes was among the Vodafone Warriors and their small band of supporters in the crowd.

Among them was Ruben Wiki's mother Tessa, now a Melbourne resident and there to see her son play his 264th first-grade match, equalling the record for most games in the competition by a New Zealander.

Wiki had double reason to celebrate the achievement as he drew level with former Kiwi team-mate and now Melbourne assistant coach Stephen Kearney.

Bookmakers had the Vodafone Warriors rank outsiders, paying around $5.00 to win.

Their task was all the more demanding because they were again without four of their most experienced players in Wairangi Koopu, Nathan Fien, Tony Martin and Sione Faumuina, all of them out with injury.

It meant they fielded an interchange bench including two 19 year olds (Sam Rapira and Cooper Vuna) and two 22 year olds (Evarn Tuimavave and Epalahame Lauaki).

In the event, Vuna never took the field as the other 16 players heroically repelled a Storm side that had lost just once in 17 matches since May.
This was the supreme version of a contest that ebbed and flowed.

The lead changed hands eight times with neither side able to score back to back tries.

Matt Geyer's 10th minute effort for Melbourne was answered by Simon Mannering four minutes later, Brent Webb regathering his own last tackle grubber and off loading expertly to enable the big centre to grab his ninth try in 15 outings this season.

In a matter of minutes the Storm went ahead 8-6 when left winger Steve Turner crossed wide out only to be followed by Vodafone Warriors left winger Manu Vatuvei scoring his 10th try of the year in just 16 appearances. The massive 20-year-old would have some anxious moments later in the match with Melbourne's kick-offs but he had a clear run-in for this try courtesy of a great Steve Price pass. Lance Hohaia couldn't convert but the Vodafone Warriors led 10-8.

That lead ought to have become 16-8 in the 30th minute when Grant Rovelli's deft grubber was expertly chased down by the red-hot Webb. He brilliantly forced the ball millimetres inside the dead ball line but video referee Phil Cooley ordered multiple replays before deciding Webb hadn't controlled the ball.

Cruelly Melbourne headed back downfield, gained a penalty on the way and from the repeat set Matt King powered over on the Vodafone Warriors' right side in the 31st minute. With Cameron Smith's conversion the so-called 12 point try gave Melbourne the lead yet again 14-10.

That was narrowed to 14-12 with a Hohaia penalty in the closing seconds of the half.

The Vodafone Warriors were anything but overawed facing the Storm at what has become known as the graveyard. They sustained the same uncompromising defence that had quelled Cronulla and North Queensland in their previous two matches.

They would have enjoyed a real measure of control had Webb's would-be try been awarded and they were denied another when Vatuvei dotted down for a second try only to be called back after Tony Archer ruled Jerome Ropati's final try went forward. That, too, seemed a harsh decision while Rovelli also went desperately close to another try.

Unperturbed the Vodafone Warriors opened the second spell aggressively, another clever Rovelli grubber going loose and Webb seizing it to go over for his 10th try of the season, although even this seemingly straightforward touchdown was referred to the video ref before being verified. Hohaia's conversion gave the Vodafone Warriors an 18-14 lead after 47 minutes.

Just as quickly they were behind again as the talented Greg Inglis surged across, Smith's conversion edging the Storm to a 20-18 advantage.
It was proving to be that sort of game and, with 30 minutes still to play, it seemed inevitable the to and fro theme would continue.

Instead the match settled into a war of attrition, both sides having opportunities but found wanting for execution at crucial moments.

Then, with just six minutes left, it was Webb and Vatuvei who provided the inspiration, Webb freeing the big winger on a searing long break down the left hand touchline. Vatuvei expertly drew the cover, found Webb backing up on the inside and the fullback scorched away for his 11th try of the year. Hohaia's conversion, his fourth success from five attempts, put the Vodafone Warriors 24-20 ahead.

There were some anxious moments in the last five minutes but they finished powerfully, even threatening to score again in the final moments as Melbourne realised its dream run had ended.

It was a reflection of the movement in the match that all eight tries were scored by outside backs.

The win gave the Vodafone Warriors their third win on end, the second time they've achieved such a run of success this season, and levelled the wins-losses ledger at 11-11 with two matches to play.

The Vodafone Warriors are back at Mt Smart Stadium next Sunday facing the Sydney Roosters when Wiki will take outright ownership of the record for most appearances by a New Zealander in the competition.

Match details:

At Olympic Park, Melbourne:
VODAFONE WARRIORS 24 (Brent Webb 2, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei tries; Lance Hohaia 3 conversions, penalty).
MELBOURNE STORM 20 (Matt Geyer, Steve Turner, Matt King, Greg Inglis tries; Cameron Smith 2 conversions).
Halftime: 14-12 Storm.
Referee: Tony Archer.
Crowd: 13,477.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
Great game, great atmosphere. It was so good hearing the 'Warriors' chant going on. Thought Melbourne people should seriously get behind their team since they are doing so well 13+ isn't that big for them. could be better.
Great win Warriors however!
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
Skinny_Ravs82 said:
Great game, great atmosphere. It was so good hearing the 'Warriors' chant going on. Thought Melbourne people should seriously get behind their team since they are doing so well 13+ isn't that big for them. could be better.
Great win Warriors however!

Apparently it was the 2nd biggest crowd of the year at olympic park. It woulda been the smallest crowd if they had of known what the mighty warriors were going to do to there team lol. :)
 

*~*Fa'AhVaN*~*_old

Guest
warriorfaithful* said:
Skinny_Ravs82 said:
Great game, great atmosphere. It was so good hearing the 'Warriors' chant going on. Thought Melbourne people should seriously get behind their team since they are doing so well 13+ isn't that big for them. could be better.
Great win Warriors however!

Apparently it was the 2nd biggest crowd of the year at olympic park. It woulda been the smallest crowd if they had of known what the mighty warriors were going to do to there team lol. :)
lol! so true
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
TUAKURA***AHVAN said:
warriorfaithful* said:
Skinny_Ravs82 said:
Great game, great atmosphere. It was so good hearing the 'Warriors' chant going on. Thought Melbourne people should seriously get behind their team since they are doing so well 13+ isn't that big for them. could be better.
Great win Warriors however!

Apparently it was the 2nd biggest crowd of the year at olympic park. It woulda been the smallest crowd if they had of known what the mighty warriors were going to do to there team lol. :)
lol! so true

Yeah but I heard Olympic Park can hold at least 18+ people.
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
Skinny_Ravs82 said:
Yeah but I heard Olympic Park can hold at least 18+ people.

Yeah and while on the topic of crowds and stadiums etc, im expexting a pretty good crowd in next sunday when the warriors play the roosters. I mean itl be the last home game, the last time webby and guttenbiel play for the warriors in front of the faithful and not to mention the warriors form at the moment!!! :)
 

westie stylz_old

Guest
Ridge asked the question in his column today: Why do the Warriors always start to play well after they can't make the playoffs?
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
westie stylz said:
Ridge asked the question in his column today: Why do the Warriors always start to play well after they can't make the playoffs?


They can make the playoffs, as ive said before its a long shot but they still can make it.
 

Jesbass_old

Guest
westie stylz said:
Ridge asked the question in his column today: Why do the Warriors always start to play well after they can't make the playoffs?

They can still make the playoffs, at a pinch, but to answer Ridge's question, it's because the pressure is off. Nothing more dangerous than a man with nothing to lose.

If anyone should know that, it's him. He never made the playoffs while in Warriors colours. ;)
 

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