Melbourne Storm vs New Zealand Warriors: NRL live scores, blog
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Melbourne Vs. Warriors
2012 NRL Premiership Season, 25 April, 2012
|AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC|
|Melbourne 32 defeated Warriors 14|
|Referee: T Archer|
|Touch judges: J Younis & Dave Munro|
The Melbourne Storm’s AAMI Park fortress is under threat tonight as they clash against a New Zealand Warriors side that has won its past two matches at the venue. Join us for live scores and commentary from 7.00pm AEST.
Melbourne is riding high on top of the NRL ladder, courtesy of a seven match winning streak that has seen them play some outstanding football.
The Storm’s last victory saw them defend admirably en route to a tight 12-6 victory against a terrific Bulldogs outfit.
Although Canterbury dominated territory, Melbourne produced one of the best defensive performances of the season thus far to hold the Bulldogs to just six points.
But Craig Bellamy’s men may need to reproduce that defensive effort if they are to beat a Warriors side capable of causing significant trouble tonight.
Despite their struggles this season, New Zealand usually play well against the Storm as evidenced by their performances against them last season.
The Warriors managed to beat Melbourne twice at AAMI Park in 2011, with one of those victories coming in last year’s preliminary final, where New Zealand produced a shock 20-12 victory to qualify for the grand final.
Given that they are coming off a strong win against the Rabbitohs, the Warriors are on course to produce another strong performance against the ladder leaders tonight.
In their preliminary final victory last season, the Warriors were perfect in all facets of their game and will need to be at their best again if they are to upset the Storm at home.
Halves James Maloney and Shaun Johnson will have to be clinical in everything they do tonight in order to crack a stern Storm defence.
At their best, Maloney and Johnson are masterful playmakers capable of creating wonderful second phase play for their backline to wreck havoc.
Before they can play their hand in attack however, the Warriors have to roll up their sleeves upfront and beat Melbourne’s pack.
If New Zealand can match the Storm upfront, one feels that the Warriors do possess more creativity up the middle, particularly if Feleti Mateo is on song.
Although Brian McClennan’s men do possess the firepower to hurt Melbourne, inconsistency continues to plague the Kiwi side this season.
Before their victory against South Sydney, the Warriors were awful in possession as they succumbed to the Roosters and Raiders respectively.
Given the unpredictability in their play, this contest may very well be decided by how well the Warriors play in the opening 20 minutes.
If the Warriors are lacklustre in possession early on, the Storm trio of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith will put them to the sword quickly.
Melbourne remain the most clinical outfit in the NRL and New Zealand will be in for a long night if they revert back to bad habits when placed under pressure.
But with the 20-12 victory last season still well imprinted in their psyche, one feels that the Warriors will provide the Storm with their toughest test of the season to date, and it may just take a moment of brilliance from either Slater, Cronk or Smith to seal a close win for Melbourne.
Storm by six.
Can the Warriors put their inconsistent form behind them and replicate last year’s shock finals defeat of the Storm in Melbourne? ANZAC Day night action is live from AAMI Park at 7.00pm AEST, and we’ll have the action covered with live scores and observations of the match so if you’re watching or following along, give us your thoughts in the space below.