NRL Round 6 – Match 8 Results: Melbourne Storm 16 v Manly Sea Eagles 18

The reigning premiers, Melbourne, suffered their second loss of the season when they went down to the Sea Eagles by just two points at Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

The Storm have now drifted in the betting markets to $5.50 second favourites behind the Dragons with following their Round 6 loss.

Playing at home and coming off a Round 5 defeat by the Titans, the Storm has been installed as the favourites against Manly, with many believing they would rise above and reassert their dominance in the NRL.

But as it played out it was the Sea Eagles, now number three on the ladder, who came away with their fourth consecutive victory. It was a big improvement by Manly from the last time they met the Storm, when they were beaten 40 – 12 in September last year.

Manly began their attack early, opening their account just five minutes in when lock Glenn Stewart got over the Storm line following a clever bomb by Kieran Foran. Jamie Lyon converted the first try and the Sea Eagles enjoyed a six point lead ahead of the highly fancied Melbourne team.

Less than 10 minutes later the Storm were left behind in a shock first quarter when winger Michael Robertson scored a sensational double just three minutes apart, putting down two tries in the corner in the 13th and 16th minutes.

Lyon converted one of Robertson’s two tries, extending Manly’s lead to a comfortable 16 – nil.

It was a position the Storm had not been in before this season as the team known for their impeccable defence had let in three unanswered tries without scoring any themselves.

Ten minutes from half time forward Bryan Norrie opened Melbourne’s account and Cameron Smith converted the try shortening their deficit to 10 points.

But then in the final minute of the first half Jamie Lyon kicked a penalty for Manly so they led 18 – 6 going into the break.

In the second half the Storm upped the ante and Manly were unable to score again, but it was too little too late. Even though Melbourne were able to match the Sea Eagle’s three first half tries, Lyon’s 40th minute penalty kick had sealed the two point win.

Melbourne’s diligent halfback Cooper Cronk put in a stellar final quarter effort, scoring a double with tries in the 66th and 73rd minutes. But Smith only managed to convert one and they lost 16 – 18. Nerves got the best of the Storm skipper as Smith missed the straightforward conversion of Cronk’s first try.

In the first half, Melbourne lost the talented Greg Inglis who injured his ankle and didn’t return and then Dane Nielsen became a second half casualty as the Storm centre dislocated his finger.