Storm steal late victory to deny Dogs comeback

Melbourne have stormed home once again to snatch a late 16-14 victory over the Bulldogs at AAMI Park on Friday.

Trailing by 4 points after a Josh Addo-Carr hat-trick put the Bulldogs on track for a Round 6 upset, Melbourne dug deep to send new recruit Shawn Blore over for a 75th minute match-winner.

Having also come from behind to steal victories from the Warriors and Broncos at home this season, Craig Bellamy's men once again defended their fortress to secure their fourth victory for the season.

After coming up with a one-on-one steal to hand his side a chance on the line, fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen opened up the scoring for Melbourne after finding space close to the line. 

The Bulldogs looked to hit back in the 12th minute through Addo-Carr in the left corner however the try was denied with the winger just scraping the touch line. 

Come the 24th minute and Xavier Coates added another freakish play for the season, reeling in a Jahrome Hughes kick before punting a grubber through defenders for Reimis Smith to crash over the line. 

Nick Meaney's conversion was wide, but Melbourne still took a 10-0 lead into the break.

After Connor Tracey came up with a big play in their own in-goal to get the Dogs out of danger, the visitors were finally on the board when Addo-Carr found space in the next play and raced downfield to land his first try for the season.

It was worrying signs for the Bulldogs after rookie forward Sam Hughes was put in the bin for making contact with Christian Welch's head on the ground but the disadvantage didn't last long with Papenhuyzen also sent for 10 after taking out Stephen Crichton off the ball.

But it was the Bulldogs who capitalised first, with the 'Foxx' crossing for a double after another silky pass from Xerri on the inside to put his side back in the contest 10-10 with 14 minutes to play.

Just five minutes later and the Bulldogs hit the lead when Addo-Carr made it a hat-trick thanks to a perfectly waited ball from Matt Burton. 

Despite being outplayed for majority of the second half, the Storm switched on when it mattered most and stole back the lead with five minutes to play, sending Blore over for his second-ever NRL try.

Match Snapshot 

  • Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was placed on report for a hip drop tackle on Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr in the 38th minute.
  • The Storm lost Tui Kamikamica early in the match with the Fijian forward suffering a calf injury in the fourth minute of the match. 
  • Bulldogs backrower Viliame Kikau picked up where he left off in Sydney last week, putting his hand up for six runs and two line break assists in the first half.
  • Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on Stephen Crichton in the second half.
  • Sam Hughes was placed on report and sent to the sin bin in the 54th minute after laying an elbow into Christian Welch on the ground.
  • Bulldogs rookie Baliey Hayward entered the fray in the 30th minute to make his NRL debut. The 23-year-old finished the match with 23 tackles and 3 runs in a 39 minute stint.
  • The Bulldogs had 15 errors compared to Melbourne's 10.
  • The Storm have won eight of their past nine games against the Bulldogs.
  • The Bulldogs have won only two of their past 11 away games.
  • The Storm have won their past 13 games at AAMI Park.
  • Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has now scored 10 tries in his past nine games at AAMI Park.

Play of the Game 
After his acrobatic effort in Round 2 earnt early try of the year contention, Xavier Coates has also put his hand up for 'assist of the year' after another freakish play. After bringing down a Jahrome Hughes 5th tackle kick, it looked like the set would end with Coates. But the athletic winger managed to put the ball to boot in traffic which bounced up for Reimis Smith to score.

What They Said 
“I thought we were really good. Did a lot of things really well, probably missed a few moments that hurt us on the scoreboard. But in terms of what we’re after from our group at the moment, I couldn’t be any prouder. It’s hard, I feel like I’ve been saying that after a few losses lately, but I think everyone can see how the boys are playing, how committed they are. They did a lot of good things today and they’re pretty devastated in there because there was so much effort and we put ourselves in a position to win. But what we can take away is a whole lot of belief because there's a lot of things that we're doing that is working." - Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo.

"They just wouldn't go away, they kept turning up. But we kept hanging in there too so it was a tight old tussle and we seem to be used to those this year. I was reasonably happy with the way we played, I think there's some times during the games where we are getting excited, when we just need to stick to our strengths and what we know works for us." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy 

What's Next 
Melbourne have just six days to prepare for a trip to Allianz to meet with the Roosters, who should welcome back halfback Sam Walker and fullback James Tedesco. The Bulldogs meanwhile, return to Accor to host the Knights for a Sunday afternoon showdown.

Original article by


Kelsey Hogan - NRL Reporter