Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm: Benji Marshall’s boot rains on Craig Bellamy’s 400th parade
Source: FOX SPORTS
FOR the second time in the space of a month, the Wests Tigers have rained on a Melbourne milestone parade.
This time it was the Craig Bellamy 400th celebration that was ruined by the pesky Tigers, who have now beaten the reigning premiers twice in the opening five rounds of the season.
Saturday’s victory in New Zealand came three weeks after the Tigers upset the Storm in Melbourne, while celebrating the 300th game of champion fullback Billy Slater.
This time the two sides could only be separated by a sole point, and it was Benji Marshall’s right boot which did the damage.
It was a Marshall field goal that split the sides in the 75th minute and a desperate Melbourne outfit couldn’t claw their way back from there.
BROOKS SHINES IN BATTLE OF THE 7s
Luke Brooks shone for the Tigers and his opposite No.7 had a night to forget.
Melbourne’s young halfback Brodie Croft made two errors officially, but had a couple of rough moments during the game and looked out of sorts all night.
At one point in the second half he completely let a Tigers kick off go which ran dead, and the “home” side scored in the ensuing set.
On the flip side, Brooks registered a try assist, four tackle breaks, an offload, two linebreaks, and a linebreak assist in what was another solid game.
Fox Sports commentator Greg Alexander noted post-game star half Josh Reynolds may be relegated to the bench if he returns from injury next week.
Brooks and Benji Marshall have been in sizzling form together in the halves.
It took 18 minutes for the first points of the game, eventually coming through a Melbourne penalty as Brodie Croft knocked over the conversion.
Both sides then went close to scoring but were thwarted by some impressive defensive efforts at either end of the park.
It took a Josh Addo-Carr brain fade to hand Wests Tigers the opening try of the night.
Just five minutes before half time, Addo-Carr fielded a Tigers kick and for some reason flicked the ball back infield to stop it going over the sideline.
The errant flick pass went straight to the Tigers and Josh Aloiai dived over to score.
The conversion was missed and the Tigers led 4-2.
But the Storm responded in absolute style.
Off a scrum 30 metres out from the tryline, Cameron Munster surprisingly kicked immediately and a charging Billy Slater won the footrace to the ball to score.
The conversion put them ahead 8-4 at the break.
The second half played out almost exactly the same way as the start of the game, with 18 minutes passing before a Storm penalty was kicked over to extend the lead to 10-4.
But a Brodie Croft shocker brought all the good work undone.
Croft left the ensuing kick off go for some reason and the Tigers got the ball right back. In the next set Luke Brooks delivered a peach of a short ball to Chris Lawrence to score.
Tui Lolohea’s conversion levelled the score at 10-10 with 18 minutes to play.
Again, both sides went agonisingly close to score only to be robbed before the line.
Benji Marshall went the closest, being pulled down just inches short after being the recipient of a Luke Brooks linebreak and offload.
But then Marshall produced the goods when he nailed a field goal in the 75th minute, putting the Tigers in front.
Josh Hoffman was denied a try when a Munster pass was called forward a minute later.
Then Addo-Carr couldn’t quite scoop up a deft Croft kick in the dying stages.
The Tigers held on to win by a point.