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Live: Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers

Beau Ryan gets the man-of-the-match and that's it from me tonight.  Be sure to grab tomorrow's Herald or long on to for all the wash-up from our own superstar trio of Greg Prichard, Richard Hinds and Glenn Jackson.  Thanks and good night.

Full-time: Tigers 10 Storm 6.  This victory will always have an asterisk with Melbourne being without their superstars but the Tigers have now won seven straight which is something not to be sneezed at.  The Storm suffer just their second loss of the season but remain six points clear at the top of the ladder with only the Broncos able to reduce that deficit when they face the Roosters in Sydney on Sunday afternoon.  The Tigers move into third or fourth place with that victory, depending on when the Bulldogs are awarded their two points for the bye.  Both the wingers starred for the Tigers tonight with Tuqiri and Utai always looking dangerous, for mine the man-of-the-match is between them and Beau Ryan who was sensational at the back and diffused more than his fair share of Storm attacking raids.

79 min: Luke Kelly kicks early for the Storm and also boots their hopes away.  Easily fielded by the Tigers and they're back in possession with seconds to go.

Six again for Melbourne inside Tigers territory.

78 min: Jason Ryles tackled on the first for Melbourne.  Two minutes to play and 80m to go.

77 min: Matt Utai doesn't seem to want to run as he winds the clock down somewhat.

Blake Ayshford's kick goes dead and the Storm have the restart this time.

75 min: Tigers on the attack now as Tuqiri makes the bust.

Tigers getting us back underway from the 20m line.

74 min: Looks like a TRY to the Storm here.  No it's not.  Normal service resumed. 

73 min: Storm penalty.

Widdop doesn't bring the kick back quite enough.  Score remains 10-6 to the Tigers.  When was the last time the Storm were unable to score a try for 70 minutes?

Try awarded.  Tigers lead 10-6 but the Storm have a kick to come.

It doesn't look like he's got it down after all.

69 min: TRY.  Dane Nielsen gets over for the Storm and there's a real game on here if this is awarded.

68 min: Line drop-out from the Tigers.

68 min: Adam Blair toes the ball dead against his former team as Utai, Widdop and Blair all miss the ball in the horrendous AAMI Park conditions.

Score remains 10-2 in favour of the Tigers as the final 10 minutes approach.

67 min: Utai breaks through a few and the Tigers are back in Storm territory.

66 min: Beau knows what he's doing.  Cleans up once more at the back but looks like he's copped an accidental knee in the face.

65 min: Matt Duffie spills another kick from the drop-out, but this time it goes backwards.  For once that's a good thing.

64 min: No chasers from the Melbourne camp for that kick.  Nonetheless Matt Utai has been taken in goal and the Storm will get another shot.

63 min: Beau Ryan's taken the Storm kick into touch and Melbourne will have a golden opportunity here.  Liam Fulton looks to be in some pain and is leaving the field for the Tigers, Aaron Woods to play on in his place.

61 min: Widdop goes the old chip'n'chase and gets cleaned up in the process.  Play on.  Just part of footy.

A let-off for the Storm there, forward pass to Chris Heighington.

59 min: Storm knock-on.  Matt Duffie floats a long ball to Bryan Norrie who is unable to catch it.  Tigers go the short side from the scrum and are just metres out.

58 min: Widdop again goes high to Beau Ryan and, once again, he makes no mistake.

56 min: Iosefa kicks for the in-goal but it goes dead.

Matthew Bell on for the Tigers and big Keith Galloway is off for a breather.

55 min: Rory Kostjasyn concedes the penalty for the Storm and the Tigers will get some easy metres.

Looks like Todd Lowrie forgot to contest the scrum there.  An easy mistake to make for a front-rower.

51 min: The rarest of the rare, a scrum against the feed and the Tigers also win a penalty.

50 min: Tuqiri gets to the Storm kick first but he's knocked it on and Melbourne will have another set from the line drop-out.

49 min: Sioasaia Vave pulled down inches out for the Storm.

48 min: PENALTY to the Storm, Masada Iosefa the man at fault.

Marshall misses again.  Score remains 10-2.

46 min: TRY.  Matt Utai gets the ball from Beau Ryan and ducks under a few tacklers to score.  Tigers 10-2, should be 12 in a matter of seconds.

45 min: Marshall kicks from inside his own 40m and Justin O'Neill spills it 20m out from his own line.  Excusable in the conditions but he's gifted the Tigers a dream shot at extending their lead.

44 min: Conversion unsuccessful.  Marshall swings that one across the face and the score remains 6-2.

The try is awarded and the Tigers lead 6-2 with a kick to come.

43 min: TRY.  Tigers go the left side again and it looks like Lote Tuqiri's bagged the night's first four-pointer.  Going upstairs for a look.

42 min: Tiges get another penalty as the rain comes down again.

40 min: Melbourne take it up to commence the second term.

It was a head cut that saw Sika Manu leave the field just before the break and he's been bandaged up and will continue.

Here's what Jacko had to say about the opening 40 minutes as the teams make their way back out for the second half:
"Points might be at a premium, but opportunities haven't been. The Tigers have not made the most of their chances and will have a mental battle on their hands to ensure they don't start panicking in the second half. They still looked the most likely in the first half, despite scores being level. The Storm have been offering little in attack, and without their stars that probably won't change much. The Tigers will have to make sure they don't beat themselves."

Widdop lands the kick and we're locked up at 2-2 at the break.  No tries but it's been an engaging first term, the Tigers had the better of the attacking options for most of the first 40 minutes but the Storm seemed to hit their straps as the half unfolded.  Tim Sheen's men looked good every time they spread the ball wide but have nothing to show for it.  We'll take a short break as well and be back with the half-time assessment from the Herald's Glenn Jackson in a few minutes.  Back soon.

Sika Manu looked to be in some grief a few plays ago and has already left the field before the break.

40 min: Melbourne get the penalty on the fourth tackle and should square things up as the half-time siren sounds.

39 min: Marshall goes the short drop-out and it fails to come off, going straight to Dane Nielsen.

38 min: Beau Ryan cleans up once again as the Storm kick takes an unexpected detour.  He's taken in goal and the Storm will have the final say for the first half.

37 min: PENALTY to the Storm for an illegal strip from Keith Galloway and company.  A little bit of luck for Melbourne there, looked like a clean knock-on.

36 min: Marshall goes to the left-flank again with a nice cut-out ball.  The Tigers have looked dangerous down that side but are yet to make it count.  This one won't either as Gareth Widdop comes up with the intercept for Melbourne.

35 min: Marshall opts for the bomb this time but it's to no avail.  Duffie takes it again.

34 min: Beau Ryan again makes no mistake fielding the Storm kick.  Might be worth trying something else.

33 min: Marshall drills another kick towards Duffie.

Luke Kelly on for the Storm, Ryan Hinchcliffe off for a breather.

31 min: Tuqiri knocks on immediately from the scrum.  Wasted opportunity for the Tigers.

A bizarre kick from Marshall almost comes up trumps for the Tigers.

30 min: Tigers spreading to the left side again.

28 min: Sironen grubbers to the in-goal but Melbourne are back in possession.

27 min: Beau Ryan takes another high ball and earns a penalty in the process.  Looks like an accidental knee or shoulder from the Penrith-bound Sika Manu.

25 min: Turnover metres out from the Tigers' line.  A fair shout for six again there I thought at a glance but evidently I was wrong.  It happens.

23 min: PENALTY to the Storm.

22 min: Gareth Widdop drills another kick to Beau Ryan, who looks at home in the fullback position.

Still no change to the score after 21 minutes.  A Marshall penalty goal is the difference, Tigers 2 Storm 0.

19 min: Tigers in plenty of space out wide. Curtis Sironen makes the initial bust before passing to Chris Lawrence who gets one away to Tuqiri who is taken to ground in a try-saving tackle by Justin O'Neill.  Great work from both sides and the Storm are back in possession.

17 min: Beau Ryan fields the Storm kick with aplomb.

15 min: Storm finally back in the Tigers' danger zone for the first time in plenty of sets.

10 min: Benji kicks for the corner but Anthony Quinn is more than equal to the task as he dashes out to the 20m line for the restart.

9 min: Beau Ryan is held up over the line and we're back for the fourth tackle.

9 min: Big set from the Tigers ends over the Storm line but what is for sure is that the Storm have knocked on and it will be six again.

7 min: Hooker Tom Humble takes the early kick for the Tigers this time, fourth tackle.

7 min: Marshall lands it and the Tigers lead 2-0.

5 min: Tigers get a penalty and Benji opts to take the two.  Mark of respect for the Storm there but it's not the worst option in the wet conditions tonight.

3 min: Marshall kicks again and it's a 40-20.  Great early opportunity for the Tigers.

2 min: Marshall goes with an early kick on the third tackle but it goes straight to Matt Duffie as the Storm start their third set 15m inside their own half.

1 min: Melbourne get us under way and Keith Galloway takes the first hit-up of the night.

Teams are on the field and we're not far away from kick-off here at AAMI Park.

Problems in the warm-up for the Tigers...Tim Moltzen looks to have done some damage to a hamstring or hip and Beau Ryan goes back to No.1.

The Twitter Outlaw in the chair tonight as we head to AAMI Park for what, Origin absentees aside, still promises to be a massive game. The Tigers are shooting for seven in a row against the ladder leaders who boast the best home record in the competition. The Tigers will miss Robbie Farah but of more note will surely be whether Melbourne's missing Origin trio can turn the Storm into the drizzle. Teams are warming up and we're just a few minutes away from kick-off.

Join the Twitter Outlaw for tonight's clash in Melbourne. Ben Coady is rested ahead of Origin II.


AAMI Park, Melbourne, Friday 7.45pm (AEST)
Last meeting:
Round 15 2011 - Storm 12 bt Tigers 4 at Leichhardt Oval
Storm 13 Tigers 7
Shayne Hayne, Gerard Sutton
Live, Channel 9
TAB Sportsbet:
Storm $2.75 Tigers $1.47
Storm +10.5

Greg Prichard writes: State of Origin has removed the Storm's big three – Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith - and Tigers hooker Robbie Farah from this match. So, despite being six-point competition leaders and playing at home, the Storm are outsiders in the betting. The Tigers still have a bona fide superstar in Benji Marshall on deck, and a good supporting cast of stars, while so much revolves around the missing trio for the Storm.

AAP writes: It's a crying shame that this fixture's been scheduled during State of Origin, with the ladder-leading Storm stripped of superstar trio Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith for the visit of the in-form Tigers. However, Craig Bellamy is well used to these situations and will relish his under-strength side being written off before a ball is kicked. The Tigers are without skipper Robbie Farah, who is a huge part of their attacking gameplan, but confidence is sky high following six successive wins.

Key: Benji Marshall was brilliant in the Tigers' ruthless dissection of Canberra last week and when the New Zealand superstar is full of confidence, the Tigers are very hard to stop.

STORM: Gareth Widdop, Matt Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Will Chambers, Justin O'Neill, Maurice Blair, Rory Kostjasyn, Jesse Bromwich, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Jason Ryles, Anthony Quinn, Ryan Hoffman, Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Luke Kelly, Michael Greenfield, Siosaia Vave, Jaiman Lowe, Sisa Waqa, Kenneath Bromwich, Mitch Garbutt (three to be omitted).

TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Matt Utai, Beau Ryan, Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri, Curtis Sironen, Benji Marshall, Aaron Woods, Tom Humble, Keith Galloway, Adam Blair, Liam Fulton, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Masada Iosefa, Blake Ayshford, Matt Bell, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joel Reddy (one to be omitted).


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