Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm: Benji Marshall’s boot rains on Craig Bellamy’s 400th parade

Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm: Benji Marshall’s boot rains on Craig Bellamy’s 400th parade
Simon Brunsdon@simonbrunsdon

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.


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.

I thought that when Melbourne went for that penalty goal about 20 mins before full time that they were making a mistake - should have went for a try, six points was not enough. W Bennett makes the same mistake. Bought my mate beer when was over.

Benji and Brooks brilliant as Tigers stun Storm

Author - Jackson Thomas Timestamp Sat 7 Apr 2018, 06:21 PM

Benji Marshall landed the winning field goal, but it’s his halves partner getting the lion’s share of credit for Wests Tigers’ stunning 11-10 win over premiers Melbourne.

It’s the second time in three weeks that the Tigers have beaten the Storm, both efforts based on courageous defence and new-found grit.

It is the first time the Storm have lost consecutive away games since 2015.

While Marshall grabbed the headlines, hitting the match-winner from 25 metres out, Brooks was the one getting pats on the back from his coach.

Ivan Cleary said he felt his No.7 put in “one of his best” performances and stepped up when it mattered.

“Late in the game, Benji and Luke came up with some big plays,” he said.

“I thought Luke, in particular, played really well tonight. He looked dangerous every time he touched the ball.”

Brooks laid on a try for Chris Lawrence with 20 minutes to play to level the match and almost put the game to bed moments later when he sliced through only for Marshall to lose the ball just a metre shy of the line.

With the try, Lawrence became the Tigers’ all time leading try-scorer.

Despite hitting the winning one-pointer, Marshall said he was unhappy with his individual performance but was glad Brooks was there to carry his side.

“He was a big reason why we got home tonight. I really thought Brooksy took control of the game for us,” Marshall said.

“When I felt a little bit off he really took over and sort of played the roll I have been playing for the last few weeks so, he was great.”

When asked where Josh Reynolds, expected to be fit and ready to play next week, fits into the side, Cleary said he “had a few ideas knocking around”.

“We’ll see how everyone pulls up, we have eight days before we play Manly so we’ll see.”

Cleary said two wins over Melbourne was “a fair feather in the cap” and something his side will take a lot of confidence out of.

Benji sinks in the boot as Tigers take down Storm. Again
By Adrian Proszenko
7 April 2018 — 5:05pm

Still think that win against Melbourne three weeks ago was a fluke?

Wests Tigers have again downed the premiers, becoming the first team to beat them twice in a season since July 2015. Had the joint-venture outfit not been dudded by the refs against Brisbane, they could well be sharing the competition lead.

It was going to take a big play to make it happen. Up stepped Benji Marshall. With the scores tied and all 34 men out on their feet, the prodigal son kicked a long-range field goal to separate the sides with five minutes to go. They defended the lead to mark the first time the Tigers have recorded two wins against the Storm in a season.

“The rule of thumb is if it’s on the left side of the post, that’s my one,” Marshall said.

“If it’s on the right side, Luke (Brooks) takes it. Luke nailed one against the Broncos a couple of weeks ago from that side.

“It was my turn to step up and thankfully I struck it well.”

It was anything but the perfect preparation for the Tigers. They were coming off a short turnaround, sacked new recruit Taane Milne on match eve over a drugs drama and had to travel 2173 kilometres for what is supposedly a ‘home’ game. The match was taken to Mt Smart Stadium and served as the first leg in a double-header also featuring the Warriors and Cowboys.

While Marshall came up with the highlight play, it was halves partner Brooks who took control. He kicked well, ran the footy and controlled the tempo. More of this – and perhaps another injury among other State of Origin contenders – and he could be in Blues discussions.

Chris Lawrence was perhaps the best forward on the field. It was appropriate that he scored a try midway through the second half to level it up at 10-all. Another co-captain, Russell Packer, bravely stayed on the field despite suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury.

“It’s a bit of a concern actually,” said Tigers coach Ivan Cleary.

“We just couldn’t take him off, I’d just made the last sub. He was on one leg. We cross our fingers on that one, but I think he’s in a bit of trouble.”

Again, the Tigers were facing Melbourne in a milestone match. When they last met, Billy Slater was marking his 300th appearance. The rematch marked the 400th for his coach, Craig Bellamy. Again, nothing to celebrate. Having recovered from the shock of his team conceding 19 penalties the previous week, ‘Bellyache’ couldn’t decide whether he wanted to implode or explode when his side failed to get a hand on a kick restart.

The Tigers have based their 2018 campaign on defence. In an acknowledgement of just how hard it is to crack, the Storm – frustrated after several unsuccessful sorties at the try line – opted for a shot at goal when given a penalty in the attacking zone. Presented with a similar opportunity, the Tigers went on the attack.

“They have been a very good defensive side all year,” Bellamy said.

“You could see that at the end of last year as well, they improved their defence a lot. With all due respect we made it, not easy on them, but we made it hard for ourselves because we didn’t hold onto the footy.”

The opening two tries came from extraordinary plays. Marshall kicked for the sideline and in his attempt to prevent it from doing so, Josh Addo-Carr grabbed the Steeden and desperately flicked it into the field of play. The brain explosion of the season so far. The ball found Esan Marsters, who produced his 19th and best offload of the season in setting up Josh Aloiai.

The Tigers were made to pay for their own mistakes. Clinging to a slim lead after dominating possession in the opening stanza, hooker Pita Godinet got pinged for a forward pass that didn’t appear forward. With less than a minute left on the clock, Cameron Munster kicked ahead from the ensuing scrum win and Slater won the race for the footy to score.

But the Tigers again fought back against the premiers. This is confirmation, if any further was required, that they are the real deal.

“We discussed the opportunity that was in front of us,“ Cleary said.

“The draw pitted us against Melbourne twice in three weeks. To have that chance to beat them twice in that period, it’s a nice bit of history really.

“To get that, it’s a fair feather in the cap. They are never easy to beat, ever.”

Woohoo!!! The team is playing well on the back of great defence. We are making the others take the WT seriously now.

Kick rocks Bellamy u gronk

“We discussed the opportunity that was in front of us,“ Cleary said.

“The draw pitted us against Melbourne twice in three weeks. To have that chance to beat them twice in that period, it’s a nice bit of history really.

“To get that, it’s a fair feather in the cap. They are never easy to beat, ever.”

^I love that!^ What a motivator!

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