ROUND 16 - 2006

Date 23rd Jun 2006
Venue Olympic Park
Coach Steve Folkes
Captain Andrew Ryan
Referee Sean Hampstead
Crowd 10373
Bulldogs V Storm
12 16
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Player Tries Goals F Goals Points
Trent Cutler 1 0 0 4
Sonny Bill Williams 1 0 0 4
Hazem El Masri 0 2 0 4

Match Review


1. Luke Patten, 2. Hazem El Masri, 3. Sonny Bill Williams, 4. Cameron Phelps, 5. Trent Cutler, 6. Daniel Holdsworth, 7. Brent Sherwin, 8. Mark O'Meley, 9. Tony Grimaldi, 10. Roy Asotasi, 17. Nate Myles, 12. Andrew Ryan, 13. Reni Maitua.
Interchange: 14. Daniel Irvine, 15. Chris Armit, 16. Brad Morrin, 18. Jarrad Hickey


Source: AAP

Melbourne produced a miracle try in the final seconds of their NRL clash against the Bulldogs for a 16-12 win at Olympic Park.

The Storm trailed with six minutes remaining before centre Jake Webster became the home side's hero, scoring two tries to give his side a thrilling victory.

It appeared Melbourne would fall two points short after hooker Cameron Smith failed to convert Webster's first try, as his kick hit the upright.

But with only a few seconds left on the clock Webster touched down again to leave the Bulldogs, who had dominated the match, shell-shocked.

Webster's second try came after a kick by halfback Cooper Cronk was collected by Ryan Hoffman, who then got the pass away to the centre who raced downfield to touch down.

Until then it appeared Melbourne had suffered a bad case of stage fright.

The Storm hadn't played a Friday night feature match since round six, quietly creeping to the top of the table away from the Sydney league spotlight.

But with pressure on the home side the Storm crumbled and was let down by a crushing first-half error rate.

They only trailed 4-0 at the break thanks to some desperate defence, but blew most of their own try-scoring opportunities with schoolboy errors.

The Bulldogs showed the Melbourne ground, which the Storm have dubbed 'the graveyard', held no fear for them even though the Storm had won their last 11 successive matches at home.

Compounding the home side's woes, fullback Steve Turner left the field with rib damage 30 minutes into the match while reserve forward Ian Donnelly was assisted off midway through the second half with what looked like a serious knee injury.

With centre Chris Walker forced to play at the back, the Storm could have used former State of Origin fullback Billy Slater, but he was left out of the squad on his return from suspension after five-eighth Scott Hill recovered from a virus to play.

Melbourne's Matt Geyer will have nightmares about Sonny Bill Williams as the New Zealand international terrorised the veteran winger during the first half.

Despite Willie Mason being ruled out with a corked thigh, Williams was left in the centres with the forward ranks already bristling with size and power.

He opened the scoring six minutes into the match after Geyer, left marking two men, chose to race off his line to tackle the giant teenager, but the Bulldog spun out of the tackle and charged to the line.

Eight minutes later Williams stripped the ball from Geyer in a tackle.

The competition leaders hit the lead six minutes into the second half after hooker Smith darted out of dummy half from 40 metres out and caught defenders Mark O'Meley and Daniel Irvine napping before he offloaded to Antonio Kaufusi.

Smith converted for a 6-4 lead.

Their joy was short-lived as the Bulldogs caught Webster short with winger Trent Cutler scoring out wide five minutes later.

But it was Webster who was left smiling after stealing the win and the points.

Data provided by Clint Crofts