Warbrick scores four as Storm fire but Tigers celebrate Twal try

In incredible scenes at Campbelltown Sports Stadium Alex Twal finally broke his try scoring drought but Storm speedster Will Warbrick spoiled the party, running in four tries to lead Melbourne to a 28-6 win on Saturday night.

With new halves pairing Jahrome Hughes and Jonah Pezet calling the shots and rallying the troops, Melbourne went back-to-back at Campbelltown, despite missing three of their Origin superstars in Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and Xavier Coates.

While the Tigers were able to stay in the contest for majority of the match, with makeshift halves-pairing Brandon Wakeham and Starford To'a struggling to link up in attack and errors cruelling any chance they had of mounting pressure, Tim Sheens' side couldn't inspire a comeback at their spiritual home ground.

However, the Tigers still walked away with their own milestone to celebrate, having finally got their veteran forward over for his first NRL try to break one of the longest try ducks, since making his debut in 2017.

Melbourne's first visit to the Tigers 20metre zone brought the ultimate reward after a catch and pass effort from Hughes created an overlap out wide for Kiwi winger Warbrick to score.

Come the 22nd minute and Campbelltown Stadium erupted when Twal grounded a crossfield kick from Wakeham in the in-goal to break his 116-game try scoring drought.

But eight minutes later the Storm silenced the Wests Tigers faithful when Warbrick made it a double, outjumping Junior Tupou to snatch a Hughes kick in the corner to score. Nick Meaney kicked the conversion to put the visitors in front 10-6.

While he didn't have to wait 116 games to do it, Melbourne hooker Tyran Wishart celebrated a milestone of his own just before half-time, cleaning up a Hughes grubber to score his first NRL try. Meaney's kick was wide but Craig Bellamy's side held an eight-point lead at the break.

But the second term was all the Storm with the right-edge clicking into gear and Warbrick running in another two tries to make it four for the night.


A try to Kane Bradley in the 72nd minute off a Pezet grubber put the icing on the Storms' ninth win of the season. 

Match Snapshot

  • Campbelltown junior Tallyn Da Silva entered the fray in the 28th minute of the match to make his NRL debut, replacing Jake Simpkin at hooker.
  • Melbourne hooker Tyran Wishart scored his first NRL try.
  • Wests Tigers forward Alex Twal scored his first NRL try in 116-games.
  • Will Warbrick became the first Storm player to score four tries in a match since Xavier Coates against Warriors in Round 7 last season. He also had 138 running metres and three line breaks.
  • Wests Tigers fullback Jahream Bula had a night out in the No. 1 jersey, running 199 metres and breaking five tackles.
  • Wests Tigers have lost their past eight games at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
  • The Tigers came up with 12 errors and the Storm 10.
  • The Storm have won their past six games against Wests Tigers.

Play of the Game 
It was the moment all rugby league fans have been waiting for. It started with halfback Brandon Wakeham punting a kick into the in goal, fumbled back by Brent Naden before falling into the lap of Alex Twal, pouncing on the ball to create a piece of NRL history. Ending a 2176 day, 116 game drought, it was the try the rugby league world had been waiting for and despite falling to the Storm, the Tigers celebrated the milestone in great scenes at Campbelltown Stadium.

What They Said
"Obviously our spine disintegrated after the last game and that had something to do with it but the big moments, we'd drop the ball, make a mistake of they'd defuse a kick. One thing's for sure is we haven't got a lot of options at the moment, but we didn't get any further injury tonight so that'll help. Our main issue was trying to put together a new combination in a handful of days." - Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens.

"It wasn't a polished win but it was a win and we'll take that any day of the week. A lot of our combinations were new, but I was really happy with the way our guys played and especially defended. The second half they really put some pressure on us there but somehow we managed to get through that without conceding any points.
It's not only scoring tries (Will Warbrick) it's his work with the footy coming out the other end. He's a big strong kid and I still think he's got a lot of improvement in him to be quite honest." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

What's Next
The Wests Tigers enjoy a bye in Round 17 before travelling to Townsville to meet the Cowboys. Todd Payten's side will no doubt be looking to avenge their horrifying 66-18 defeat to the Tigers in Round 12.

Meanwhile, the Storm will host Manly at AAMI Park next Saturday, hopeful a seven-day-turnaround is enough to welcome back Maroons trio Harry Grant, Cameron Munster and Xavier Coates.


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Story first published on NRL.com

Kelsey Hogan, NRL Reporter