The Melbourne Storm have destroyed the Manly Sea Eagles 40-12 in what was nothing short of an ambush!
Manly basically got off to the worst start possible and looked really sluggish throughout the first half. Dropped balls, silly mistakes and a leg injury to Steve Matai knocked the Sea Eagles right off their game. If anyway they looked like the team that were coming off a week off while the Storm looked as sharp.
With all the posession and field position the Storm made the Sea Eagles pay with two quick tries early in the game. A third try came when Manly dropped the ball from a tap off a penalty kick to touch. Cooper Cronk swooped and scored the third try of the match. Cameron Smiths third missed conversion of the night only gave the Storm a 12-0 lead though and you got the feeling a Manly try would bring them back into this game.
That is just what happened late in the first half when a cross field kick by the Sea Eagles was caught brilliantly by Jamie Lyon who scored a try he later converted. Heading into half time the Storm led 12-6, the score line didn’t reflect the gulf between the two teams performances but Manly were still in it.
The second half kicked off with a fantastic 80 meters try by the Storm in what was a telling blow. It smacked of a team that was ready to put the sword to their opponent and broke the game wide open.A follow up penalty gave the Storm a 14 point lead and even a try by Jamie Lyon when he swooped on a lose ball and ran 50 meters to score under the posts wasn’t enough to turn this result.
The Sea Eagles simply faded out of the game. Stupid mistakes, silly penalties and an opponent that was at the top of the game just kept Manly out of the contest for the entire night.
A try by Jessie Bromwich off a Cooper Cronk short ball was typical of the night. The Storm just executed brilliantly all night in a way only they can. They give so many options for Cooper Cronk to work with and off that you have Billy Slater running off him who also has a bunch of options at his disposal. When they are on song like they were tonight, they are just about unbeatable.
This was a really disapointing end to the season for the Sea Eagles. They were brilliant at times this season, even in the face of injuries and suspensions. Next season will be a big test for the club. They almost have to regroup and recover from what was a beating by their biggest rivals.
As for the Storm, I don’t care who wins tomorrow nights game, they are my favorites to take out the 2012 NRL Grand Final. I tipped them at the start of the season and to have made it this far after the rebuilding job they have done, it has been an incredible job by the Storm club.
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