Balmain-Ryde Eastwood 24
Competition front-runners Balmain-Ryde Eastwood headed down to take on a Melbourne team who only a week ago were thumped by Wentworthville, had its key players all returning from duties in the NRL, and in the case of Gareth Widdop, playing test football for England.
The game was dominated from start to finish by some very heavy defence by both sides, especially by David Gower. However it was Chase Stanley who opened the scoring after ten minutes, when he crossed out wide after some clever quick passing created an overlap. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Neither team gave an inch for the next 15 minutes, until Dane Chisholm was put through a gaping hole and he ran away to score under the posts. Chase Stanley converted the try from in front.
Both teams started to find space and were making easy metres but poor last tackle kicking options ruined genuine scoring opportunities for both sides.
With just under 10 minutes remaining in the half, Curran made a break out on the right side and ran twenty metres before passing inside to Ryan who quickly gets the ball along to Meaney who ran away and scored under the posts. Lazarus converted and the Tigers had reduced the deficit to 4.
Melbourne though, hit back almost immediately when Vaituutuu barged over through the Tigers defence and scored under the posts. Stanley converted the try, giving the Storm a 16-6 lead heading into the sheds at halftime.
The second half began full of big hits and crunching tackles. A deep kick by Kelly went into touch just 10 metres from the Tigers line. From the scrum win the Tigers turned the ball over and the Storm instantly pushed the ball wide. Kostjasyn dived over from dummy half out wide on the left. Stanley‘s conversion attempt was waved away.
With just under twenty minutes remaining, Blake Lazarus looked to have scored a certain try in the far left corner before being penalised for a shepherd. Melbourne pushed up field quickly before a cross field bomb by Kelly was caught by Koko who quickly offloaded to Stanley who scored in the corner. Chisholm’s conversion attempt again unsuccessful, but Melbourne seemed to have an unassailable 24-6 lead.
A penalty against Balmain-Ryde Eastwood just five minutes later, for holding down in the tackle while defending on their own line, allowed Chisholm to take a shot at goal and claim an easy two points.
Trailing by 20 points, the Tigers attack finally began to click. Their restart was allowed to bounce by the Storm and it went into touch, giving Balmain-Ryde Eastwood the scrum feed just 20 metres from the Storm line. Ryan Carr dived over from dummy half and scored adjacent to the posts and Lazarus quickly potted the conversion to take the Storm lead back to 26-12 with less than ten minutes to play.
The Storm immediately went back on the attack and just two minutes later a cross field bomb by Kelly was spectacularly plucked out of the sky by Koko who scored in the left corner. Chisholm missed the conversion from out wide. Melbourne were now up 30-12 with 6 minutes left.
The Tigers were not finished yet. Blake Lazarus sauntered across field and threw a dummy which the rushing Storm defence fell for and he ran through them and scored under the posts and again quickly converted to bring the lead back to 12.
With time running out the Tigers continued coming at the Storm, but they left their charge too late. The siren sounded as Blake Lazarus put in a grubber for himself, but it was Cowan who picked up the loose ball and scored under the posts. Lazarus converted after the full time siren and the Storm managed to hold out the Tigers 30-24
18 Jy Hitchcox
20 Michael Koko
3 Willie Isa
4 Chase Stanley
5 Dane Chisholm
6 Gareth Widdop
7 Luke Kelly (c)
8 Jesse Bromwich
9 Rory Kostjasyn
10 Sione Kite
11 Robbie Rochow
12 Hep Cahill
13 Billy Rogers
14 Sinbad Kali
15 Pulou Vaituutuu
21 Dale Langford
17 Daniel O’Regan
BALMAIN-RYDE EASTWOOD TIGERS
1 Sean Meaney
2 Lee Bennett (c)
3 Tame Tupou
4 Mitch Brown
5 Sam Latu
6 Darren Nicholls
7 Blake Lazarus
8 Eloni Vunakece
9 Ryan Carr
10 David Gower
11 Rhys Curran
12 Matthew Ryan
13 Jarred Farlow
14 Willie Mataka
15 Alan Schirnack
16 Gavin Cowan
17 Brett Lane
WHEN THEY SCORED
10th min - Melbourne 4-0 – Stanley try
22nd min - Melbourne 10-0 – Chisholm try, Stanley goal
32nd min - Melbourne 10-6 – Meaney try, Lazarus goal
37th min - Melbourne 16-6 – Vaituutuu try, Stanley goal
49th min - Melbourne 20-6 – Kostjasyn try
63rd min - Melbourne 24-6 – Stanley try
69th min - Melbourne 26-6 – Chisholm goal
71st min - Melbourne 26-12 – Carr try, Lazarus goal
73rd min - Melbourne 30-12 – Koko try
76th min - Melbourne 30-18 – Lazarus try, Lazarus goal
80th min - Melbourne 30-24 – Cowan try, Lazarus goal
MELBOURNE 30 (Stanley 2, Chisholm, Vaituutuu, Kostjasyn, Koko tries; Stanley 2, Chisholm goals)
BALMAIN-RYDE EASTWOOD 24 (Meaney, Carr, Lazarus, Cowan tries; Lazarus 4 goals)
Referee: Jon Stone
Half-Time: Melbourne 16-6
Scrums: Melbourne 10-7
Penalties: Melbourne 10-6
Goal Kickers: Stanley (Melbourne) 2 from 4, Chisholm (Melbourne) 1 from 3, Lazarus (Balmain-Ryde Eastwood) 4 from 4
****This match report appeared in Rugby League News magazine****