St George 10-24 Melbourne

Melbourne Storm scored their 5th straight win of the season against an under-manned St George Illawarra Dragons at Oki Jubilee Stadium, winning 24-10 in a contest where the visitors rarely got out of second gear.

With Greg Inglis missing, Matt Geyer played in the number six jersey while Steve Turner made his first start for the season on the wing.

The Storm had only lost one of their previous 12 clashes against the Dragons, and it looked like that dominance may not continue after the opening exchanges.

A slick move down the Dragons right saw embattled winger Wes Naiqama give his team the early lead, crossing in the corner to open his personal try-scoring tally for the season.

It took a long time for Melbourne to get themselves in the game, with drop ball and penalties the norm.

However, Cooper Cronk and Geyer combined with quick hands to create space for Turner to score in the corner, with Cam Smith’s conversion giving the Storm the lead..

Turner was at it again a few minutes later. A cut-out pass by Billy Slater found the speedy winger to get his second for the game.

Melbourne extended their lead ten minutes after the break.

Slater played the part of playmaker again, this time kicking superbly behind the Dragons defence finding a flying Israel Folau, who gathered brilliantly to score his eighth try of the season, giving the Storm a 14-4 lead.

The Dragons weren’t done yet though, and when Josh Morris burst through the Storm line and out-sprinted the retreating Storm defence, the Dragons were only four points down and back in the game.

Nonetheless, on Melbourne’s next set of six, order was restored with Matt King showing great strength to shrug off Richie Williams, crashing over in the corner to give the Storm some much needed breathing space.

In the 71st minute, on the back of a 60-metre kick return by Slater, Anthony Quinn sealed victory for the Storm. A couple of quick play-the-balls saw Folau in possession. Instead of panicking in the tackle, the big winger unloaded to Quinn who made it 24-10 with Turner’s conversion.

Despite the scratchy performance, Storm coach Craig Bellamy could see plenty of positives from the win.

“If someone said at the start of the season we’d go to Newcastle in Round 4 and Kogarah in Round 5 and come away with two wins we would have taken it with both hands, wouldn’t have mattered how we’d played,” said Bellamy.

“Perhaps I’ve been a bit too hard on the players, and perhaps they’ve been a bit too hard on themselves because we’re still winning.

“Our defence, while maybe not as quick moving as the last couple of weeks, still held them out so perhaps we just need to relax a little bit and things might come a little more easily for us.”

STORM 24 (Tries: Turner 2, Folau, King, Quinn; Goals: C. Smith, Turner) def. DRAGONS 10 (Tries: Naiqama, J. Morris; Goals: Naiqama) 

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